WHAT HAS OBAMA DONE, OBAMA TWITTER, OBAMA SPEECH


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A scorecard on the economy under Barack Obama

By Louis Jacobson
Published on Friday, June 1st, 2012 at 4:01 p.m.

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See how the economy has changed since Obama was elected in 2008. See how the economy has changed since Obama was elected in 2008.

In the hotly contested presidential campaign between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney there is one undisputed point: the central issue is the state of the Americaneconomy.

End of agreement.

Were the country’s economic troubles deeper than expected when Obama took office in January 2009? Were his ideas and actions effective in righting the nation’s economic ship? Are things getting better? If so, are they getting better fast enough?

From both parties, the political rhetoric will be contentious for the next five months and, by its very nature, oversimplified. But below the fury there are objective metrics as to how the economy has performed on Obama’s watch and where it stands today.

PolitiFact.com, the independent fact-checking operation of the Tampa Bay Times, has produced a scorecard — key economic measures to track where the economy stood a year before Obama took office, where it was when he assumed power and how it has trended through May 2012.

We’ve gathered statistics for everything from corporate profits to the price of ground chuck. To help you see which ones are up or down, we’ve shaded most of the statistics from white (the most positive number) to dark (the least positive).  We offer figures for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 — either an annual figure for the whole year or the monthly figure for January of that year. We also added a column for the most recent figures available.

Some analysis suggests the mixed record that most Americans feel:

• Gasoline prices, the rate of poverty, food stamp use and the federal debt are worse today than when the president took office.

• The unemployment rate, personal income and the stock market turned worse but are improving.

• Corporate profits, mortgage rates and the level of consumer debt are better today.

But the point of the scorecard is for you, the voters and consumers of political speech, to have factual measures by which to judge what you hear. The perspective you bring to it is all yours.

About these charts

To help you see how the numbers trend, we’ve shaded the statistics from white (the most positive number) to dark (the least positive). We haven’t shaded the numbers for government jobs because of differing opinions over whether more government employment is helpful to the economy.

Jobs

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Unemployment rate 5% 7.8% 9.7% 9.1% 8.3% 8.2%
Broader unemployment rate “U-6” 9.2% 14.2% 16.7% 16.1% 15.1% 14.8%
White unemployment rate 4.4% 7.1% 8.7% 8.1% 7.4% 7.4%
Black unemployment rate 9.1% 12.7% 16.5% 15.7% 13.6% 13.6%
Hispanic unemployment rate 6.5% 10% 12.6% 12% 10.5% 11%
Total private-sector jobs 115.6 M 111 M 106.8 M 108.2 M 110.5 M 111 M
Total government jobs 22.4 M 22.6 M 22.5 M 22.2 M 22 M 22 M
Median weeks unemployed 9 10.7 20.1 21.7 21.1 20.1

Income

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Yearly GDP $13.2 T $12.7 T $13.1 T $13.3 T $13.5 T
Disposable personal income per capita $33,229 $32,166 $32,481 $32,667 $32,677
Personal bankruptcies 1,074,225 1,412,838 1,536,799 1,362,847
Poverty rate 12.5% 13.2% 14.3% 15.1%
People receiving food stamps 32 M 39 M 44 M 46 M 46 M

Homes

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Median home sale price $232,400 $208,600 $218,200 $240,100 $221,700 $235,700
New homes sold in that month 44,000 24,000 24,000 21,000 23,000 33,000
Existing home sales, annualized 4.2 M 3.8 M 4.2 M 4.5 M 4.6 M 4.6 M
Foreclosure starts 0.88% 1.08% 1.2% 1.27% 0.99% 0.96%

Business

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Corporate profits $1.2 T $1.4 T $1.8 T $1.9 T
Bank failures 25 140 157 92 61
Corporate bankruptcies 43,546 60,837 56,282 47,806
Industrial production 100.4 87.4 87.4 92.5 96.5 97.4
Consumer confidence 87.3 37.4 56.5 64.8 61.5 64.9
Dow Jones Industrial Average 13,044 9,035 10,584 11,671 12,397 12,393
Labor productivity 103 103 109 110 111

Prices

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Overall inflation 4.3% 0% 2.6% 1.6% 2.9% 2.3%
Food and beverage inflation 4.8% 5.2% -0.4% 1.8% 4.4% 3.1%
Loaf of white bread $1.32 $1.40 $1.36 $1.40 $1.42
Pound of ground chuck $2.78 $2.99 $2.84 $3.07 $3.32
Gallon of milk $3.84 $3.34 $3.21 $3.39 $3.53
Pound of apples $1.28 $1.11 $1.07 $1.13 $1.18
Pound of sugar $0.51 $0.57 $0.63 $0.66 $0.71
Gasoline prices $3.16 $1.74 $2.72 $3.12 $3.36 $3.73
Residential natural gas per unit $12.24 $12.49 $10.56 $9.79 $9.55 $9.40

Debt and savings

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Personal savings rate 5.4% 5.1% 5.3% 4.7% 3.9%
Outstanding credit card debt $948.5 B $955.5 B $856.2 B $794.7 B $800.8 B $803.6 B
Household debt rate 18.4% 18.5% 17.4% 16.2% 15.9%
Mortgage rates 5.76% 5.06% 5.03% 4.76% 3.92% 3.91%

Federal government

2008 2009 2010 2011 January
2012
April/May
2012
Federal discretionary spending as percent of GDP 7.9% 8.9% 9.4% 9% 8.5%
Federal mandatory spending as percent of GDP 11.1% 15% 13.3% 13.5% 14.4%
Annual federal deficit $458 B $1.41 T $1.29 T $1.3 T $1.33 T
Cumulative public debt $5.14 T $6.37 T $7.81 T $9.39 T $10.45 T $10.95 T