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US president's economic scorecard

WASHINGTON--Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. economy has pulled out of the deep 2008-2009 recession. But growth remains feeble, as many key indicators of economic health show.

Here is a scorecard of economic performance under Obama:

Growth

When Obama took office in January 2009, the economy was severely contracting, losing 5.3 percent in the first quarter of 2009. It began recovering within months, but growth in the second quarter of 2012 was still a very weak 1.3 percent.

Jobs and Joblessness

In the three months from January 2009, when Obama took office, the economy lost an average of 780,000 jobs per month. The economy began adding jobs again in March 2010, but in the three months to August 2012, the figure averaged a low 94,000 a month, barely enough to keep up with population growth. The jobless rate in January 2009 was 7.8 percent, rising to 10.0 percent in October that year. Now it is 8.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the number of official jobless has fallen from the peak but remains close to where it was in January 2009, while those who have dropped out of the jobs market has increased. The official numbers of those unemployed in January 2009, October 2009 and August 2012 are 12.05 million, 15.42 million and 12.54 million, respectively. The numbers of those who stopped looking for jobs in January 2009, October 2009, August 2012 are 5.68 million, 6.02 million and 6.96 million, respectively.

Earnings

Unadjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings have risen to US$809.09 from US$751.22. But when inflation is figured in, earnings are down by almost US$3.00 a week.

Poverty

The number of people receiving food stamps under the government's SNAP program has risen from 14.5 million households to 22.4 million households (June 2012).

Government Finances

The national debt has risen to US$16.0 trillion from US$10.6 trillion. The deficit has fallen from US$1.41 trillion in fiscal 2009 to a projected US$1.13 trillion in fiscal 2012. The government's credit rating, from Standard & Poor's, was cut last year for the first time ever, to AA+ from the top-level AAA.

Gasoline

One gallon (3.8 liters) of gasoline has doubled to US$3.66 from US$1.81.

Stock Market

The S&P 500 stock index has rebounded from 826 to 1,441.

Housing Market

The median price for new homes has recovered from US$208,600 to US$256,900. But the percent of all home loans either delinquent or in foreclosure is virtually unchanged, 11.9 percent for the fourth quarter of 2008 and 11.6 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

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