The U.S economy is nearly standing still. Ever aware of the dismal situation and its political implications, President Obama has shifted into candidate mode.
Obama has been hitting the road, talking about the main issue of the election: jobs -- or rather, the lack of them.
"We've got to be ruthless in evaluating what works and what doesn't in order for folks to actually obtain a job and industry to get the workers they need," Obama said at one technology event in Pittsburgh.
The economy needs to add at least 250,000 new jobs to cut the nation's 9.2 percent unemployment rate.
But last month, the economy generated just 18,000 jobs. It's a reality that's becoming a political crisis for the president.
"What matters most to me as president, in the wake of the worst downtown in our lifetimes, is getting the economy on a sounder footing," Obama said.
Click play to watch Jennifer Wishon's updated package followed by analysis from Seton Motley, founder of the group Less Government.
But some business owners believe the president's policies are the problem.
Businesses have money on hand, with record profits in some cases, but a lack of confidence in the economic future has them clinging to their cash.
"So if you want to give Main Street confidence, you've got to guarantee that their taxes are going to stay at a low level. You've got to promise them," Jean Card, vice president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, said.
"You've got to show them that their regulatory burden will be reduced, and you've got to tell them that health care is going to change," Card said. "I mean, quite frankly, the health care law is terrible for small business."
"I don't know if I'm going to be able to do business with the guy," business owner Shelley Hymes said.
Hymes opened an event planning and public relations firm seven years ago. Right now, she says caution is the business buzz word.
"You feel like things are getting better and then you'll have a really bad week or two and you'll pull back," she said.
Hymes looked into applying for one of the president's small business loans but said the red tape was too cumbersome.
"Finally, I pulled strings and I got in touch with someone who actually gave me relevant information and connected me with one or two banks, and no banks wanted to participate in the program," she told CBN News.
For Hymes, the less government is involved in her business the better. But for others, the Obama administration hasn't gone far enough.
Thea Lee, who works for one of the nation's largest unions, the AFL-CIO, said what the economy needs is more federal cash.
"It's almost like, if you think about it this way, somebody gets hit by a car and goes to the emergency room and the doctor says, 'Well, you're going to need eight pints of blood, but we're only going give you two pints.' Then after he gets two pints, he says, 'Well, the guy's still sick, the blood didn't work.' And it's not that the blood didn't work, it's that there wasn't enough of it," Lee explained.
"Given the magnitude of the problem that we faced, the scale of the job losses that we had, we needed actually to spend more money," she added.
No matter the remedy, the reality is dismal. Hourly wages are down, unemployment is up, and with deep differences between Republicans and Democrats going into next year's elections, no one knows if Washington will be able to help.