By Peter Schroeder and Vicki Needham - 10/01/12 09:41 AM EDT
The economy added a dismal 96,000 jobs in August. But the Labor Department said this week it had underestimated job growth between April 2011 and March 2012 by 386,000 jobs, a positive for Obama’s efforts.
While layoffs remain low, business groups have said they are wary of adding employees with the looming uncertainty of how Congress will deal with the looming fiscal cliff, a mix of spending cuts and expiring tax provisions set to go into effect next year.
Just two days prior to that report, the economy will take a different center stage, when Obama and Romney square off for their first debate.
The pair has been perpetually sparring on the campaign trail over the economy and jobs, and will now finally be able to address the issue in person.
At least half of the Denver face-off will be devoted to questions on the economy, with other segments set aside for health care and other governing issues.
Both sides will be eager to make their economic case.
Romney will argue the president has failed to get the economy moving, and that he has the answers to fix it.
Meanwhile, Obama will defend his record as overcoming the massive financial crisis and hammer Romney as having the wrong economic prescription, recycled from ideas that have failed in the past and led to the meltdown in 2008.
On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve will release the minutes from its latest policy-setting meeting. While the minutes detailing Fed debate always garner some attention, this newest edition should be particularly intriguing, as it will lay out the arguments made when the Fed decided to embark on its third and boldest round of “quantitative easing.”
All but one voting Fed official agreed to take on the new stimulus, which has the central bank buying up $40 billion of mortgage bonds until it sees substantial improvement in the labor market, assuming inflation remains in check. Analysts and wonks will be poring over the minutes for further clues on where the Fed plans on taking its new project.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will deliver remarks on monetary policy on Monday in Indiana.
Elsewhere, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will be paying a visit to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Monday. The nation’s largest business lobby is holding a day-long event to discuss economic and business issues facing Latin America and the Caribbean.
On Tuesday, the American Action Forum and the Progressive Policy Institute will join forces to discuss how Washington can overhaul the housing market.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan will open the event, followed by experts and economists opining on how to fix the nation’s mortgage market in the wake of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
That same day, the Tax Policy Center will gather its own panel of experts to discuss the tax implications of the “fiscal cliff” coming at the end of the year. That will be preceded by a press briefing Monday on the center’s analysis of the tax consequences of going over the cliff.