This week alone, the following troubling economic indicators were announced: Second quarter economy growth was revised down to 1.3 percent from 1.7 percent; durable goods orders fell more than 13 percent in August; and personal incomes rose just 0.1 percent last month—less than expected.
The Chicago Purchasing Managers survey, which gauges private sector orders for goods and services, fell below 50 for the first time since September 2009.
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The data does not bode well for the next week’s September jobs reports. The economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, well below expectations, with nearly 400,000 individuals dropping out of the work force altogether.
The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months and labor force participation is at its lowest level in more than three decades.
Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute notes that 2012 "may be the worst non-recession, non-depression year in the history of the United States."
But despite all indicators to the contrary, Democratic voters appear increasingly convinced that the economy is improving. According to Gallup, economic confidence among Democrats surged 10 points between September 16 and September 23, while independents and Republicans reported a drop in confidence.