WASHINGTON (AP) - A day after consumer concerns about the
economy sent stocks sliding, President Barack Obama is trying to
assure the American people that the economic recovery is headed in
the right direction.
Obama is visiting Wisconsin on Wednesday to speak about the
economy in Racine before taking questions in a town hall meeting.
The president is facing a public that is pessimistic about the
economy. The latest Consumer Confidence Index, released Tuesday,
showed its biggest drop since February and indicated Americans
aren't in the mood to spend. Those factors are worrying businesses
and investors: The Dow Jones industrial average closed down nearly
270 points Tuesday.
The dip in consumer confidence underscored a key concern for the
Obama administration: While there are signs the economy is
recovering, that recovery isn't reaching many Americans quickly
enough. Unemployment is expected to remain around 10 percent
through the end of the year, and some economists believe the jobs
report due out Friday will show the economy has lost more jobs, a
bleak forecast following five months of job growth.
Following a meeting of his economic advisers Tuesday, Obama
acknowledged the economy still faces an uncertain future.
"We're now seeing some headwinds and some skittishness and
nervousness on the part of the market and on the part of business
and investors," he said. "We've still got a lot of work to do."
In the midst of two wars and one of the worst environmental
disasters in the nation's history, Obama's challenge has been
keeping his administration's work on the economy in the spotlight.
That challenge could only increase as the administration moves
forward on other domestic policy priorities, such as clean energy
legislation and immigration reform.
In Racine, on Lake Michigan south of Milwaukee, the work that
still needs doing is on graphic display. The city's jobless rate
was 14.2 percent last month, in part because of an exodus of
manufacturing jobs. Chrysler is closing its engine plant in nearby
Kenosha and General Motors shut down its plant in Janesville, about
an hour to the west.
Mayor John Dickert maintains Racine is rebounding, and praises
Obama's stimulus plan. "We've taken every dollar he's given us and
multiplied it by three to five times," Dickert said.
But Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said
Racine just shows the Obama plan's failure to stop job cuts. "He's
going to be met with despair and disgust," Priebus said.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)