If there’s a short answer to this question, it’s that the White House take on the economy is a tad rosy in some areas, while Americans are confronted daily with the excruciatingly slow pace of recovery.
Economic indicators, like so many numbers, are subject to interpretation. They are often crunched and spun these days just like campaign polling. So what is asserted as fact can sometimes depend on the sources cited and the reporting outlet.
Across the board, economists look at a range of data, from the stock market and unemployment numbers to manufacturing activity, housing sales, and the gross domestic product. And there are, of course, a slew of other variables.
With key budget battles ahead in Washington this fall over the debt ceiling and federal spending, Obama embarked on a campaign-style tour earlier this summer to showcase those economic areas he views as strong and sees, more broadly, as providing indications of a recovery. During his tour debut, he used the manufacturing sector, housing sales, and the stock market to make his case for improvement.
“Over the past four years, for the first time since the 1990s, the number of American manufacturing jobs has actually gone up instead of down,” Obama told a crowd gathered at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.
“The good news is over the past four years, we’ve helped more responsible homeowners stay in their homes,” Obama also said in Galesburg. “And today, sales are up and prices are up, and fewer Americans see their homes underwater.”