Illustration: Fred Harper
A year after President Obama declared the "Recovery Summer," hoping that his nearly $800 billion stimulus package would bring down the high unemployment rate and jump-start the economy, indicators suggest the country still has a long way to go. Indeed, there are worrying signs reviving fears of a double-dip scenario. The following timeline highlights economic indicators over the past 12 months.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE stands at 9.5% and housing starts rise, with 142,000 one-family homes built in the second quarter.(U.S.Bureau of Labor Statistics, Universityof Michigan,U.S. CensusBureau).
Summer kicks off on the wrong foot, with the DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE dropping 3.4% from the previous month to 9,686.
Existing HOME SALES fall 19% from June 2010, to 4.2 million on a seasonal adjusted annual rate. (National Association of Realtors).
The INVENTORY-TO- SALES RATIO rises to 1.30 from June's 1.29, an indication that sales in the country are dropping or inventories are poorly managed. (U.S. Department of Commerce).
CONSUMER SENTIMENT remains sluggish at 67.7. (University of Michigan).
Despite the stimulus package, the UNEMPLOYMENT RATE climbs to 9.8%. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).
After rising in fall, CONSTRUCTION SPEND drops below $800 billion on an adjusted rate to $784 billion, with just $238 billion for residential construction. (U.S. Department of Commerce).
PERSONAL SAVINGS as a percentage of disposable personal income falls to 5.8% from 6.4% in June 2010. (U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Statistics).
The MEDIAN SALE PRICE of existing homes reaches its lowest point since June 2010 at $156,100. (National Association of Realtors).
HOUSING STARTS continue their freefall since June with only 89,000 one-family homes built in the first quarter (U.S. Census Bureau).
At $190 million, manufacturers' new orders for DURABLE GOODS are just 6.6% above June 2010 levels and mostly unchanged from September. (U.S. Department of Commerce).
Retail GAS PRICES continue to increase, reaching $3.90 a gallon, a 46 % increase at the pump from June 2010. So does inflation, with the consumer price index up 3.6% since June.
While the DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE was on the upswing most of the year, doubts about the global economic recovery push the stock market down to below 12,000.