Obviously, the overwhelming majority of President Obama’s speech was on national security today, but he began with some assessment of how the country is doing on other fronts, including the economy.
Just this week, we have taken steps to protect American consumers and homeowners, and to reform our system of government contracting so that we better protect our people while spending our money more wisely. The engines of our economy are slowly beginning to turn, and we are working toward historic reform of health care and energy.
Earlier in the morning, the Department of Labor reported that the number of people filing unemployment claims on an ongoing basis rose to a record high for the 16th straight week to reach 6.66 million [the job market of the beast, apparently], that 631,000 people filed new claims for jobless benefits in the week ended May 16, and that the percentage of unemployed who have been out of work for a long term was the highest since they started measuring 61 years ago.
Very slowly, those economic engines turn.
UPDATE: Somebody at the Congressional Budget Office didn’t get the memo about the engine turning: “The growth in output later this year and next year is likely to be sufficiently weak that the unemployment rate will probably continue to rise into the second half of next year and peak above 10 percent,” CBO director Douglas Elmendorf said in prepared testimony to the U.S. House Budget Committee.