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Still, there are plenty of economic uncertainties ahead that will impact elections. Here are just a few:
- “The U.S. economy has been sending mixed signals, with recent weak employment and GDP growth but also higher disposable personal income, strong auto sales, and signs that the housing market may be stabilizing,” according to the state Forecast Council.
- As of May 22, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based organization that tracks industrial economies, lowered its forecast for GDP growth across countries like the U.S, Canada, most of Europe, South Korea, Australia, Chile, and others. The organization's expectations dropped from an annual rate of 1.8 percent in 2011 to 1.6 percent in 2012. Still, the OECD does expect growth to bounce back a bit, rising to about 2.2 percent in 2013, according to its latest Economic Outlook. “The global economy is gradually gaining momentum, but the recovery is fragile, extremely uneven across different regions and could be derailed by the crisis in the euro area,” it said in the report.
- In China, one of the engines of the world economy, GDP is dropping. In the first quarter it fell to 8.1 percent from its fourth quarter report of 8.9 percent; a sharp contrast with its overall rate of 9.2 percent in 2011.
- Consumer confidence is a bit stronger, according to the University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment. That’s a plus since consumer spending makes up about two thirds of the economy.
- Manufacturing employment in Washington State is strong. This is a good sign since these jobs are usually primary jobs, often leading to other jobs in the service sector of the economy.
The next unemployment rate/new jobs report will come out Friday, June 1. So prepare for another round of spin from both camps, depending on the numbers. Several key economic forecasters, by the way, are already seeing a stronger report for May – right around that 175,000 job average. Meanwhile, Washington continues to outperform the national economy by a narrow margin, though high gas prices on the West Coast could still have an impact here. Stay tuned.
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