By Vicki Needham - 06/06/13 11:10 PM EDT
If not, the $80 billion in across-the-board spending cuts along with the increase in payroll taxes will likely be forced to take the blame for the sluggish economy.
Yes, manufacturing is contracting on slower overseas business in Asia and Europe, along with the uncertainty swirling around fiscal policy in Washington. But the housing market is showing steady signs of improvement and, even though private-sector jobs grew at a slower pace than expected, large companies are still hiring at a decent clip — and small business are chipping in plenty, too.
But it is possible that hiring from Hurricane Sandy inflated construction jobs figures earlier in the year than usual, and those have tailed off through the spring, even though they are still growing.
Home builders are stepping up construction to meet the growing demand for housing that isn't being met by the low inventory in previously owned homes.
Those figures should continue to improve throughout the year, too — right along with the market's resurgence.
Oh, and there has been some strange weather — cold temperatures and May snow in some regions — that has plagued retailers and probably some of that construction hiring.
Yet economists have to acknowledge that despite the lack of accelerated jobs growth, the economy his holding its own and could come out the other side of the tunnel no worse for wear.
But what is strong enough on the jobs front?
Most economists argue that growth needs to exceed 200,000 a month to keep up with population growth and really start to nip at the heels of the jobless rate.
But what if the figure is bad?
Well, let the finger-pointing continue, with Democratic lawmakers and the White House probably jumping on their sequester horses and suggesting a ride to replacement town.
Bernanke is on that bandwagon; a couple of weeks ago he pushed lawmakers, again, to replace short-term cuts and look more seriously at how to deal with problematic and unsustainable long-term budget problems.
See you at 8:30 a.m. Friday for the scoop.
WHAT ELSE WE'RE WATCHING
Presidential summit: President Obama will meet on Friday with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss a wide range of issues that will include everything from cybersecurity to trade. A bipartisan group of senators has reintroduced legislation that calls on the Obama administration to crack down on currency manipulation and other trade violations. Michael Froman, a top adviser for the president and the nominee to become the next U.S. Trade Representative, told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that China is a top priority for the White House and there is engagement at every level to improve the relationship and convince Beijing to comply with trade laws.
Consumer Credit: The Federal Reserve releases its April measure of consumer debt.
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED
— Boehner says raising debt ceiling via budget possible, but unlikely
— Cantor: No budget talks until Dems relent on taxes
— Boehner accuses Obama of trying to shut down government
— 'Spock' apologizes for IRS parody video
— Cummings: Issa cherry-picking information
— Lawmakers express concerns about growing global trade violations
— Majority of House members want currency crackdown in Asia-Pacific deal
— CFTC chief defends Dodd-Frank progress, presses cross-border regulation
— Southern senators outmaneuver enemies of catfish program
— Senate Finance lawmakers press Froman on Cayman investments
— GAO: Pentagon failing to track improper contractor payments
— White House asks for fast-track authority
— US warns Bangladesh on labor rights
— Hochberg gets panel's nod to retain helm at Export-Import Bank
— Senate fails to advance student loan bills
— Senate Budget easily approves Deese nomination
— House passes $38.9 billion DHS spending bill
— Joe Lieberman joins law firm in New York
— House votes to defund Obama's 'administrative amnesty' for immigrants
— Senate votes 75-22 to end debate on farm bill
— Former CFPB deputy starts firm focusing on residential mortgages
— Jobless benefits applications fell 11,000 last week
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