This election cycle President Obama gained notoriety for his rendition of Al Green’s famous tune “Let’s Stay Together,” which he sang during a fundraiser at the Apollo Theater in New York. However, given the recent positive stream of good news, there’s another baby-boomer party standard that the President should start practicing – KC & the Sunshine Bands “Keep it Comin’ Love, Don’t Stop it Now”.
The good news has rolled off the press this week like hits used to roll out of Motown – the once famous recording studio in Detroit, Michigan. As illustration, consider the following announcements that were made within the seven days:
- Auto and truck sales climbed to 14.1 million units in January, up from 13.5 million units in December.
- The Labor Department announced that initial claims for unemployment compensation last week declined to 358,000 from the previous month’s level of 376,000. The four-week average level was 366,250. This continuing decline is significant because during 2007, which was the high point of the last economic expansion, average weekly claims for unemployment compensation were 320,942. Therefore, the economy is now just 45,000 above that highpoint.
- The U.S. Census Bureau announced that retail and food services sales for January were $401.4 billion. This represented a monthly increase of .4% and a year-over-year increase of 5.8%.
- Congressional negotiators from the House of Representatives and Senate reached an agreement on extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits, and they did so without having to engage in economic confidence killing recriminations that characterized the last debate over the extension.
- The President’s approval rating has reached the 50% mark according to the latest New York Times/CBS Poll. This is an important benchmark for an election year, and it is a job approval rating that has not been reached by the President since the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US Marines in May of 2011.
These positive economic indicators are not only excellent news for the President; they are encouraging signs for the US economy and for the millions of people who remain unemployed. At the beginning of 2012, the Gazelle Index predicted that economic activity would increase significantly during the first quarter of the year. We also predicted that the unemployment rate would decline considerably. With each new day, the correctness of that forecast is confirmed.