August 10th, 2009
09:40 AM ET
9 years ago

John King's Monday Memo: Will retailers deliver good news?

President Obama shakes hands with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Gaudalajara, Mexico, on Sunday.

President Obama shakes hands with Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Gaudalajara, Mexico, on Sunday.

(CNN) - Interesting tests for President Obama on the world and domestic stages top the look at the week ahead, but the nation's political mood could be shaped just as much by the earnings reports from a few big retailers.

Last week, Obama found a glimmer of hope in the Labor Department report showing a small dip in the national unemployment rate and a less drastic bleeding of jobs from the economy. To be clear, 247,000 more Americans were thrown out of work in July. But the number of job losses had been double that or more in some months of late, so the White House saw the change as evidence the worst is over.

But consumer confidence remains low, something Republican pollster Bill McInturff believes will be a drag on Obama's political standing for some time.

As McInturff put it: "I've done a lot of work looking at consumer confidence, and there's only been four times since post-World War II that numbers have been this bad. Every other time that they've been this bad, it's taken between two to four years to improve.

"We've had 17 months. We have a long, long way to go, historically, before these numbers get better. And the problem for the president is not this year but next summer. And by next summer, people are going to have, kind of, a fuzzy memory of George Bush, and it will be the 'Obama Administration economy'."

With that in mind, it won't just be Wall Street looking deep for any evidence of an uptick in spending when Wal-Mart, Macy's and JC Penney, among others, release their earnings.

Obama opens the week in Mexico for a summit with the leaders of Mexico and Canada. The economy will be the top issue, and other items on the agenda include preparations for the next wave of the H1N1 flu virus and efforts to help Mexico deal with its drug cartel violence.

Full story

Filed under: Economy • President Obama • State of the Union
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. katiec

    It took many years for our economy to be totally raped, so can
    understand those who think the problems can be overcome
    The media's negativity and sensationalizing keeps people
    stirred up. Would be nice in once in awhile we could get
    something positive from them, but that is not going to happen.
    So, intelligent people must take their bias for what it is,

    August 10, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. katiec

    Should have read, CANNOT understand etc.

    August 10, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. dominican mama 4 Obama

    I certainly hope the retailers report encompasses good news for the nation and our President.

    Now that Pailin is "out of politics" she is being better utilized by her Party to promulgate incredilbe falsehoods regarding the Health Plan. There is nothing to hold her, and her sick imagination back as she is a private citizen. She is a sore loser, and is hellbent on revenge.

    The most caring President we've ever had is being falsely accused of trying to kill his citizens. This is shameful and deplorable. Anyone who believes this should be committed to an insane asylum.

    The world is laughing at our stupidity for even giving any type of airtime to such insane nonsense.

    August 10, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The recession is over and now it's time to recover.

    August 10, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Kevin in Ohio

    We must look beyond the simple numbers. An unemployment dip from 9.5 to 9.4 coupled with a signiciant number of lost jobs means one thing...... people are giving up looking for jobs. More and more people are counting on Obama to take care of them while they choose to not contribute to the economy. Welfare state, welcome back.

    August 10, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. demwit

    They had better be way up..., after spending $1.8 TRILLION that we don't have.

    August 10, 2009 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  7. Zero.

    Not for Obama's USA...

    August 10, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  8. Zero.

    The Bigger they are: The harder they will fall.

    August 10, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. TCM

    IF you think the economy's bad now, wait until small businesses have to pay higher taxes for the stimulus package, healthcare, and Cap and trade ....all are bills coming due to a country nearing 10% unemployment, a faltering housing market...and we're still following a group of liberal democrats who want to give even more to illegals and undeserving entitlement leeches......once these higher tax requirements are in place, more businesses will fold, unemployment will go even higher...and civil unrest, which is already starting in the "townhall meetings," will increase. Obama will be known as the president who, along with his adminstration, was responsible for inciting another civil war.....what a legacy!

    August 10, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  10. Terry from West Texas

    The best strategy for each household is to pay off all debts and save as much as possible. Position yourself for the next inevitable economic downturn. We cannot possibly believe that this very fragile global economy is going to fix itself. There are too many bad characters who have enormous power. The Chinese hold our debt. The Middle East controls our oil. We depend on many unstable nations for essential goods. Bad times will happen again. Be ready.

    At the same time, it would be best for you if your neighbors ignored this advice and spent like there is no tomorrow, going deeply into debt in the process. This would be best for the economy as a whole.

    This is the problem with the structure of the global economy. If everyone does what is best for himself, his neighbors will suffer. This is not a stable situation.

    August 10, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Fair is Fair

    A new poll shows that 30% of those still employed are fearful of losing their job (Rasmussen). Add that to the 9.5% (really more like 14% if you count everything), and that adds up to somewhere between 40-45% either unemployed or fearful of being unemployed.

    That number is killing consumer confiidence which does not bode well for the economy, as 2/3 of GDP is consumer spending.

    Just keep telling us everything is hunky dory, Obama.

    August 10, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. A. Goodwin

    Only republican's will have a fuzzy memory of Bush – meaning, they will forget how their leader brought us to where we are now (espeically around election time). For the rest of us – we will never forget. As someone who has been laid off to forget. Ask the mom who is working two jobs to pay for healthcare if she will forget. Ask those servicemen who lost their comrades, whether they will forget.

    Nobody but republican's will have a fuzzy memory. And that being only to serve their own good – trying to elect more republican's.

    Sorry – we may forgive...but we do not forget.

    August 10, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. DEM in HI

    Historically, the unemployment always dips in July and August because of the summer temp hires. However, I do not see the end of the depression until next year at the earliest. The federal government still has not addressed the issue of stingy loans from the banks. The banks are keeping the TARP money to balance their books. The other thing that is happening is the banks are holding on to foreclosed houses longer to keep the housing prices artificially high. I do not see anyone reporting about this fact or how banks are holding onto taxpayer money. Maybe that is because instead of action and solutions to this depression, we are going to talk our way out of it and just hope that everyone starts spending while the banks get richer.

    August 10, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. GI Joe

    John King is a Republican shill and I wouldn't watch his show if it was the only one on TV.

    August 10, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Sam Sixpack

    Thank God the weekend Probama crew has gone home. Perhaps we can hear the whole truth on Mondays.

    All day Sunday was "let's call Palin a liar" day. Well, here it is Monday and it is still Dean who was Sunday's BIG FAT LIAR. Can truth be posted on Mondays?

    Without ANY public option, the "new healthcare" is the same as the old healthcare – except that money currently earmarked for Medicare and Medicaid will be up for grabs for whoever's favorite pork project.

    With a public option, the remaining for-profit insurance companies will still suck all the money out of healthcare.

    The only solution that will actually work for us commoners is to get rid of ALL health insurance companies. Everything else is just a lie to steal even more of your tax dollars.

    August 10, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. Mississippi Mike

    Retail sales are important but the Obama administration is busy shutting down the defense and healthcare sectors while driving the auto sector into the ground and mucking up the financial sector even worse. With all of these disasters being forced on us by the White House, celebrating any improvements in retail sales is pretty pointless because the four sectors who are getting destroyed aren't included in the numbers.

    August 10, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  17. Four and The Door

    Despite a stipulation in the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. officials have not allowed Mexican trucks into the United States. Congress last year canceled a pilot program, and Mexico retaliated with $2.4 billion in tariffs on select American products.

    Free trade will be key in a sustained recovery of our economy. We don't need to restrict the ability of our products to international markets for the political favor of unions. Haven't the unions already done our economy enough harm?

    August 10, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Predicta

    Doubtful, unless you're in or related to the auto industry, which just got a $5 billion infusion.

    August 10, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. carlo

    Despite the fact that this would be great news for America, most Republicans are actually praying that the news is bad, just so they can stick their chests out and say they are right.

    August 10, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. yuri

    Let Calderon and Harper deal a reasonable hand to the US so everybody can benefit from this three-amigo meetin'.

    August 10, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. ross berg

    Even as a lifelong Republican I must admit that it's nice to have a President representing us who is well spoken and has an excellent command of the language.

    Poor W. couldn't put 2 sentences together without mis-speaking and embarrasing us all!!

    August 10, 2009 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. norma

    I just don't get it.........................since President Obama has been in office, the right-wingers are looking for expediency in getting millions of jobs for people out of work. These jobs have not been lost since Barack took office, this came about over a period of eight years. Where were these people when George Bush was in office? They sure didn't give him any grief – in an eight year period, everything was A-OK. Now that they lost a "legitimate" election, they have become dirtier and more unscrupulous than even I imagined. These town hall disruptions which I firmly believe are staged – one would have to be an idiot to think otherwise............all of those actors should be sent to a camp until they get some sense. It is really ironic that for eight years anything and everything bad got done; and now that same group has all the answers and solutions to everything. WHERE WERE THEY FOR EIGHT YEARS AND WHY DON'T THEY HAVE THE DECENCY TO GIVE PRESIDENT THE RESPECT AND TIME TO GET DONE WHAT HE'S TRYING TO FIX. IT IS YOUR DISASTER THAT HE'S FIXING!!!

    August 10, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  23. Ancient Texan

    It is ALREADY Obama's economy. He took a bad situation and made it 4 times worse with wild, unaccountable pork barrel, payback special interest, spending. Just wait until the runaway inflation cranks up and interest rates climb beyond reach of struggling small businesses. It's Jimmy Carter II, on steroids.

    August 10, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  24. Scott L

    Nope. Nobody spends squat in Summer Months.

    August 10, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Randolph Carter

    It's quite disturbing how paranoid and misinformed right wingers are these days. Let's face it, Americans are not a smart people overall. The rest of the world is laughing at us. Have a nice day!

    August 10, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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