Weekly Wrap: Obama Jobs Speech on Tap

Last Updated Sep 3, 2011 7:54 AM EDT

President Obama will take center stage on Thursday night to unveil a new jobs initiative. He better bring his A-game, after the rotten August employment report (see: August Jobs: Obama Blew It). The Labor Department said the US economy did not add ANY jobs last month, the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent and 14 million Americans are still out of work (23 million if you include part-timers who want to be full-time). Only 58.1 percent of all adults are working, down from 62.7 percent in December 2007.

What can the President say to spur job growth now? It's expected that he will discuss tax breaks for hiring, an extension of the payroll tax and spending on infrastructure. If Obama asks for some larger program that would add to the nation's debt load, Republicans will surely balk.

Meanwhile, investors are focused on the US economy, as well as Friday's news of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's (FHFA) lawsuit filed against 17 of the world's biggest banks. FHFA is the independent agency that acts as the conservator of the broke Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The suit claims that the banks didn't properly disclose the risks of the mortgage-backed securities that it sold to Fannie and Freddie. US taxpayers have a vested interest in this case-we've sunk $141 billion into the two headed mortgage giants, so anything that is recouped will reduce that amount.

Not to bring up a sore topic, but the low point for stocks this year was August 8th, when the S&P 500 was down 18 percent from the 2011 peak. Since then, stocks have rebounded 5 percent. Stocks started the first days of September on a downbeat note, as investors headed to the sidelines and found comfort in treasuries and gold.
  • DJIA: 11,240, down 0.4% on week, down 2.9% YTD
  • S&P 500: 1173, down 0.2% on week, down 6.6% YTD
  • NASDAQ: 2480, up 0.02% on week, down 6.5% YTD
  • October Crude Oil: $86.45, up 1.3% on week (up 5% over the last two weeks)
  • December Gold: $1876.90, up 4.4% on the week (8th gain in 9 weeks, up 31% YTD)
AAA National Average Price for Gallon of Regular Gas: $3.66

Total bank failures for 2011 = 70 (2 new bank failures over weekend)

FACTOIDS OF THE WEEK: Employment Edition
  • Jobs Created: NONE (Revisions for past two months: -58K)
  • Unemployment Rate: 9.1 percent (unchanged from July)
  • Under-Employment Rate (marginally-attached, part-time): 16.2 percent (from 16.1 percent in July)
  • Total Number of Unemployed: 14 million (from 13.9 million)
  • Part-timers (hours cut for economic reasons): 8.8 million (from 8.4 million)
  • Average duration of unemployment: 40.3 weeks (from previous record high of 40.4 in July)
  • Median duration of unemployment:21.8 weeks (from 21.2 weeks in July)
  • Number of years to return to pre-recession employment (assuming current level of job creation): 4 (late 2014 or early 2015)
  • Total Jobs Lost since beginning of recession in 2007: 6.8 million
  • Long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks and over): 6 million (from 6.2 million in July, representing 42.9 percent of the total unemployed)
  • Average Hourly Earnings: down $0.3 to $23.09 (Over the past year, earnings are up 1.9 percent)
  • Average Workweek: -0.1 to 34.2 hours
  • Government: -17K (tenth consecutive month of job losses. Over 550,000 total government jobs lost since peak in September 2008)

IN THE WEEK AHEAD: Look who's talking? The focus this week will be President Obama's big speech on jobs Thursday night. Earlier that day, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak on the economic outlook.


Tues 9/6:
10:00 ISM Non-Manufacturing

Weds 9/7:
2:00 Beige Book

Thurs 9/8:
8:30 Weekly Claims

8:30 International Trade

1:30 Ben Bernanke Speaks on Economy

3:00 Consumer Credit

7:00 President Obama Speech on Jobs

Fri 9/9:
8:30 Wholesale Trade
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    View all articles by Jill Schlesinger on CBS MoneyWatch »
    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch. She covers the economy, markets, investing or anything else with a dollar sign. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch in 2009, Jill was the chief investment officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.



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