Forecast: Job picture gloomy for rest of year - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Forecast: Job picture gloomy for rest of year, U.S. faced with record deficit




















(Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf says his office projects
that unemployment will not return to its long-run sustainable level
of 5 percent until 2014)


WASHINGTON. - The day before his State Of The Union speech and his prime time effort to win back lost support, President Obama got a devastating projection on the nation's key issue: the economy.

Unemployment will stay at or above 10 percent for the rest of this year and improve only slightly next year.

This raises the political stakes for democrats and for the president who will go to Capitol Hill Wednesday night to tell the nation how he plans to deal with the ongoing economic crisis.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, unemployment will average 10.1 percent for the rest of this year and remain high, at 9.5 percent, through next year.

"We project that the unemployment rate will not return to its long-run sustainable level of 5 percent until 2014," said Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf.

Republicans are blaming the democrats.

"Americans aren't happy with the administration's approach," said Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell.

Analyst Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report said voters got angry when Barack Obama and top democrats turned their attention to health care global warming.

"Every day, every moment, that the president and congress spent on health care and climate change was a minute, a day, not spent on economic problems," said Cook.

Top democrats claim they multi-tasked and prevented worse job loss.

"We've stared down the abyss and we have drawn back and we are starting to regain our stride as we should," said Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin.

The president's address to Congress last year ticked off an ambitious agenda while Wednesday night's will be focused.

"What he'll discuss more than anything, is getting our economy moving again," said White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs.

On programs he once called priorities, like climate change initiatives, the president will propose a spending freeze.

Republicans and some Democrats say the partial freeze is nowhere near enough to fix the huge deficit or President Obama's political slide.

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