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Economic bright spots not a sure boost for Obama

December 7, 2013 • Business


FILE – This Nov. 29, 2013 file photo shows shoppers in Brea Mall during Black Friday shopping in Brea, Calif. For President Barack Obama’s entire presidency, pocketbook worries have been the dominant issue with Americans. But an uptick in growth and a downtick in unemployment give the president a stronger story line going into the 2014 congressional election year and provide Democrats with a counterpoint to Republican attacks on Obama’s health care law. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — To a struggling White House, the economy that was supposed to be a political millstone is losing some drag.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, pocketbook worries have been the dominant issue with Americans. But an uptick in growth and a downturn in unemployment give him a stronger story line going into the 2014 congressional election year and provide Democrats with a counterpoint to Republican attacks on Obama’s health law.

The economy has pushed ahead despite a government shutdown, edge-of-the-cliff deals on the debt, and indiscriminate budget cuts that were supposed to hold back the recovery.

Yet to the surprise to many, virtually every single important economic indicator has brightened.

The unemployment rate dropped to a 5-year-low of 7 percent in November, employers created 203,000 jobs, the stock market is roaring, home purchases are up, and manufacturing grew last month at the fastest pace in 2½ years.

But Obama’s fortunes have seesawed for months, marked by ups and downs on foreign and domestic policy. Whether this economic trend accelerates remains to be seen.

What’s more, voter opinions about the economy typically lag behind signs of improvement.

“If the trend line continues you have to assume that has to catch,” Republican pollster Login to read more

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