By Isaac Cohen*
Five weeks before the November elections, in the United States there are indications that the summer economic recovery is losing strength. The increase in summer hiring pushed down the unemployment rate to 8.4 percent in August, from 14 percent in April, supporting positive expectations about the strength of the recovery. Additionally, throughout the summer, the stock market was pulled upward by the shares of giant tech companies.
However, last week unemployment insurance claims remained almost unchanged from previous weeks. Both state unemployment insurance claims and those under the federal program for self-employed and part-time workers remained at over 1.7 million claims. In all, about half of the 22 million jobs lost in March and April have been recovered, which means that there are still 11 million unemployed. Also, retail sales in August, according to the Commerce Department, rose only 0.6 percent from July, which indicates less spending by consumers. Finally, all stock market indexes have retreated during the last three weeks due to declines in the shares of the giant technology companies.
Finally, it is contributing to the slowdown the expiration in July of the relief package, to support the unemployed, to grant cash transfers for families and individuals and loans and grants for companies. Meanwhile, Congress has not yet agreed to approve a new relief package soon.
*International analyst and consultant, former Director ECLAC Washington. Commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Español TV and radio, TELEMUNDO and UNVISION and other media.