Recession Ending? Economic Landscape Still Ugly

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WASHINGTON -- A decent report on the economy came out Friday: unemployment is down to 9.4 percent -- that's down from 9.5 percent from last month.

President Barack Obama says the recession may be coming to an end.

Click play to watch CBN News Washington Correspondent Jennifer Wishon's report followed by an interview from CBN Newschannel's Midday program with Diana Furchtgott-Roth, U.S. Labor Department's former chief economist, who is now director of the Hudson Institute Center for Employment Policy in Washington, D.C.

Obama says things would be much worse without the $787 billion stimulus package he pushed through Congress.

"I'm convinced that actions we've taken in the first six months have helped stop our economic freefall." he said while campaigning Thursday for Creigh Deeds, Virginia's Democratic candidate for governor.

It's a view his chief economic advisor agrees with.

"They're doing what the president always said needed to be our top priority: rescuing an economy on the edge of the second great depression," Christina Romer said.

Some companies are hiring.

"We're expanding into the small business market, so I don't have enough (employees) to hit all the small businesses in the Atlanta area," said Connie Sanders with Liberty National.

But the economic landscape is still ugly.

"No money, just trying to find a job, gas, it's hard," job seeker Sonya Flemiester said while at a job fair in Georgia.

Flemiester is one of nearly 15 million Americans trying to find work.

And for the first time ever, the number of Americans enrolled in the federal food stamp program in May topped 34 million.

In hopes of helping stimulate part of the economy, senators voted to refill "Cash for Clunkers," pumping up the broke program with an additional $2 billion.

It's been so popular, some dealers can barely keep their fuel-efficient vehicles in stock.

"We're down to one Focus which we just got off the truck," a Michigan-based Ford dealer said.

But critics call it another bailout from the Obama administration.

"I've had calls from constituents who have old golf clubs and they'd like some cash for them," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.

And some dealers, fearing they wouldn't get paid by the federal government, have asked customers to return their new cars.

"I blame it on the bureaucracy at the federal government," car buyer Kim Kieschnick said. "To me, it seems like a relatively simple program and they should have known it was going to be very popular."

The number of Americans looking for work is expected to grow into next year.

And Romer, Obama's chief economic adviser, says if the economy is not meeting the administration's expectations by the end of this year, it may need to consider a second stimulus.
  

 

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Jennifer Wishon

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.