Week After Reporting Economic Contraction, Reuters Claims Booming Economy Could Help Democrats

Do Reuters writers even read Reuters?

One has to ask this question because just a week after Lucia Mutikani of Reuters reported that the paltry 0.1 percent economic growth for the first quarter would probably be revised to show a contraction, Richard Cowan also of Reuters declared that a "rising" U.S. economy could help Democrats. To get an idea of the absurdity of these wildly contrasting Reuters reports, let us first read Cowan's happy look today at a non-existent economy that would help Democrats...if only it were true:

....the growing U.S. economy, on pace to expand as much as 3.5 percent this year, about the best performance in the industrialized world. Unemployment has fallen from 10 percent to about 6.3 percent and consumer confidence is at a six-year high.

Better economic data could help persuade voters in November to look past President Barack Obama's weak approval ratings and his unpopular healthcare law and give Democrats enough lift to hold onto the Senate and limit their losses in the House, political strategists said. Yet a debate about the actual state of the economy, which Americans consistently rate in polls as among their top concerns, may be missing in the run-up to Congressional elections.

Of course that unemployment rate no longer includes workers who have given up looking for jobs. Also how is the U.S. economy "on pace" to expand 3.5 percent on the heels of a first quarter contraction?   But let us not stop Cowan, he is on a phantom economy roll:

"It's bad for Democrats to make the argument the economy is improving. Bad, bad, bad," said Erica Seifert, a senior associate at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which advises many Democratic candidates.

Instead, many Democrats are focused on promoting ways to improve the economy -- raising the minimum wage, providing affordable college education and closing the pay gap between men and women -- all while ignoring the positive signs.

"Positive signs" such as a contraction as reported by Reuters on May 6? And now for that gloomy economic reality, not Cowan's desperate hope:

(Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March as exports rebounded, but the improvement was probably not enough to prevent the government from revising down its estimate of first-quarter growth to show a contraction.

...Economists said the data implied about a two-tenths of a percentage point reduction to the first quarter's 0.1 percent annual growth pace. The report came on the heels of March construction spending and factory inventories data that also proved weaker than the government had assumed in its advance GDP report last Wednesday.

"There is a very high chance that GDP will be revised to show a contraction in the first quarter, possibly in the neighborhood of minus 0.5 percent," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

That would be the first quarterly contraction in three years.

The government will publish revised GDP figures later this month. In its initial report, it estimated trade subtracted 0.83 percentage point from economic growth, with exports posting their largest quarterly decline in five years.

But don't worry, Democrats. Richard Cowan claims you could be putting on your party hats to celebrate a booming economy that has yet to happen. However, please don't read the gloomy report of his Reuter's colleague, Lucia Mutikani, or you could return to your funk.

Economy Reuters
P.J. Gladnick's picture