President George W. Bush may turn out to be the top economic forecaster in the country.
About a month ago he told reporters, “We’re not in a recession, we’re in a slowdown.” At a White House news conference a few weeks later, despite the fact that reporters pressed him to use the “R” word, Mr. Bush refused. And on Friday, after the most recent jobs report — which produced a much-smaller-than-expected decline in corporate payrolls, a huge 362,000 increase in the more entrepreneurial household survey (the best gain in five months), and a historically low 5 percent unemployment rate (4.95 percent, to be precise) — the president told reporters: “This economy is going to come on. I’m confident it will.”
We’re in the midst of the most widely predicted and heralded recession in history. Problem is, so far it’s a non-recession recession. Score one for President Bush. In an election year, it could be a big one.
First-quarter GDP growth came in at 0.6 percent. It wasn’t the widely predicted decline, and economists expect that number to be revised up. GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2007 was also up slightly, while the prior two quarters averaged over 4 percent growth.
Continue reading: Bush’s ‘R’ Is for ‘Right’
And, here’s a quote from Lawrence Kudlow’s blog,
Economic Resilience. When you think about it, look at what we had to deal with in the first quarter. You had the credit market seizeup; you had Bear go out; you had Lehman close to going out—not because it should have, but because the financial markets were driving it that way; you had extraordinary moves by the Fed; you had continued collapse in homebuilding, and we still grew at 0.6 percent. That says to me if the economy was going to collapse, it would have collapsed then. It’s going to get better from here. Slowly, gradually, saucer-shaped, but it’s going to get better from here.
-Jim Awad, chairman of WP Stewart Asset Management