With the economy still struggling to sustain its rebound from the recession, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has an issue giving him a clear advantage over President Barack Obama.
Indeed, “the economy gives Romney his best chance of defeating Obama,” according to The Hill
. It sees three economic factors as most important for the campaign — employment, housing, and the European debt crisis.
Unemployment remains at an elevated level of 8.2 percent, with payrolls increasing only 120,000 in March. Housing also is still weak, with the latest numbers showing prices fell 2.5 percent in February from a year earlier. And rising Spanish bond yields have investors worried about Europe again.
All that is good news for Romney and bad news for Obama, and there may be more of it on the way. Moody’s Analytics economist Mark Zandi doesn’t see the jobless rate falling below eight percent by election day Nov. 6.
The housing market may be near a bottom. But a vigorous rebound is unlikely this year. “House prices, based on data through February, continue to decline, but at a decreasing rate,” Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic, told The Hill. “The deceleration in the pace of decline is a first step toward ultimately growing again.”
The turmoil in Europe has led to volatility in U.S. financial markets, which also represents a problem for Obama. “Strains in global financial markets continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook,” the Federal Reserve said in a report Wednesday.
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