May 26, 2012

AS IN 1992, WHEN TWO SIMILAR CANDIDATES FACED EACH OTHER...:

America Plods Forward, Much of the World Slows (IRWIN M. STELZER, 5/26/12, Weekly Standard)


Meanwhile, in America consumer sentiment is at its highest level in more than four years. The recovery plods on, probably at something like a historically low 2.2 percent growth rate, which many economists are guessing will step up to close to 3 percent by year-end. Oil prices are coming down. Manufacturing output is rising, and the growth is "relatively broad-based, with healthy gains in both consumer goods and business equipment," according to Goldman Sachs' economists. In part this reflects an emerging trend for production and jobs to return to the U.S. due to a combination of leaner and meaner, lower-cost manufacturing operations here, and rising labor costs in China and India. A survey by Accenture consultants found that 40 percent of companies moving manufacturing operations in the past two years had moved them to the U.S., compared with 28 percent who had moved facilities to China which, however, still tops America as the preferred location for new factories.

The housing sector seems finally to be in remission. Sales of both new and existing homes rose last month by 3.3 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, month-over-month. The supply of homes on the market is relatively low, and new home prices are up close to 5 percent compared with last year. This might be due to unaccounted for seasonal factors, but at worst it seems that new home prices have stabilized. Prices of existing homes also rose, but more modestly.

Housing starts are up, and the National Association of Home Builders reports that builders are cheerier than they have been since the housing recovery started. 

...the historical importance of this election lies almost exclusively in which party gets credit for the Peace Dividend-driven boom and the incipient Third Way reforms.

Posted by at May 26, 2012 4:40 PM
  

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