They Say No News Is Good News. Is Good News Good News?

There’s a saying that “No news is good news.”

Sadly, for many people and organizations even good news is not necessarily good news.

After the Department of Commerce reported a jump in GDP of 7.2 percent in the third quarter, many members of the media and Democratic politicians were still ready to look at the negatives, rather than the positives that average Americans could easily see.

What follows are a few headlines and leads from some of the country’s newspapers and quotes from several Democratic candidates for president in response to the good economic news (emphasis has been added).

“Economy Jumps, But Jobs Lag; Spending Expands; Experts Say Wallets May Follow”

    Diane Nevill and Richard Peake exemplify the rapid gains in the nation’s economy: The Phoenix couple plan to spend $150,000 improving their home.

    But Bill Austin of Chandler, an unemployed Motorola executive who once commanded a six-figure income, demonstrates the one major frustration with this economic spurt: the nation has yet to create a healthy dose of jobs.

    –Arizona Republic

“Economy Puts On A Surge – Fastest Leap In 19 Years Tied to Bush Tax Cuts”

    WASHINGTON – The economy roared to life in the third quarter, growing at an annual rate of 7.2 percent, the fastest rate in 19 years, the Commerce Department reported yesterday.

    “This is a stunning number,” said Wayne Ayers, chief economist at FleetBoston Financial Corp. “You take it apart, and there is growth in every sector.”

    The surprisingly robust expansion was well above the 6 percent spurt most economists had expected, although it sent no clear signal about the nation’s persistent joblessness.

    –Boston Globe

“GDP Aside, Jobless Rate Is Number That Matters”

    The economy’s surprising growth spurt brought smiles to the faces of Republicans throughout the capital, but their joy could be short-lived if it is not followed by an employment increase that makes Americans feel secure in their jobs as the election approaches.

    –Chicago Tribune

“Economic Rebound Hasn’t Hit Columbus; Small Signs Of Recovery Emerge Amid Lingering High Unemployment”

    Economists celebrated the nation’s fast-growing economy yesterday, but many central Ohioans still are waiting for the recovery to arrive.

    Unemployment, already high in central Ohio, rose again in September.

    –Columbus Dispatch

“Economy Soars; Mich. Lags; U.S. Growth Shoots To 7.2%, But Struggles In Manufacturing Will Delay State Rebound”

    The nation’s economy sizzled in the third quarter, growing at a 7.2 percent rate — the fastest pace since 1984. Barring another war or catastrophe, economists say the U.S. is primed for a full-speed-ahead recovery.

    But in Michigan, the shadows of the 2001 recession remain, thanks to the slow-to-heal nature of the manufacturing sector, which can only return to life months after a healthy national economy emerges to buy our goods.

    Analysts predict Michigan will enjoy its share of the current nationwide boom by early 2004. For the time being, however, growth remains sluggish and statewide unemployment is hovering at 7.4 percent, well above the nationwide rate of 6.1 percent.

    –Detroit News

“Economic Growth Spurt; GDP Gains 7.2%, But Jobs Still A Concern”

    Washington – With a burst of strength that even Arnold Schwarzenegger would admire, the nation’s consumers bought school clothes, food and new cars at a record pace this summer and powered the national economy to its fastest quarter of growth in nearly two decades.

    The economy grew at an unexpected 7.2 percent rate from July through September, more than twice the rate for the previous three months and the fastest overall rate since the spring of 1984.

    But skeptical consumers and nervous politicians, while acknowledging the positive statistics, pointed to jobs as a greater concern.

    –New York Newsday

“In Oregon: Economists Cautiously Optimistic”

    The 7.2 percent surge in gross domestic product last quarter gave Oregon economists cautious hope for the future. But even if the state’s economy is growing at the same pace as the nation’s, that doesn’t mean it will be much easier to find a job.

    Nationally and statewide, the economy is experiencing what economists dub a “jobless recovery,” economic expansion with little uptick in employment. And Oregon’s September unemployment rate of 8 percent was the highest in the nation, a distinction the state has held for most of the past two years.

    “If you took a look at employment changes, we of course fell into it deeper and we’ve stayed down, but it’s been the same story for the U.S. economy,” said Tom Potiowsky, Oregon’s state economist.

    –The Oregonian

“U.S. Economy Soars As Growth Rate Hits 7.2%; For Northwest, That Means Things Likely Won’t Get Any Worse”

    With consumers flush with money from a tax cut and record mortgage refinancings, the U.S. economy was hitting on all cylinders for the first time in several years in the third quarter, posting its fastest growth rate since 1984, when Ronald Reagan was in the White House.

    The Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the economy, rose at a robust 7.2 percent annual rate in the July-September period, more than double the 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter. Earlier in the year, the economy was growing at an anemic 1.4 percent rate.

    But the strong growth leaves many people in the Seattle area checking their personal GDP and finding it wanting. Incomes are down, there are few jobs, and growth rates of 7 percent seem as far away as last summer’s sunshine.

    –The Seattle Times

“U.S. Economic Growth Surges; Output Rises At Highest Rate Since 1984, But Jobs Still Decline”

    The U.S. economy, firing on all cylinders, grew this summer at the fastest pace in nearly two decades, even as it was losing jobs.

    –Washington Post

Democrats’ Negativity As Quoted In The Hotline:

  • Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-MO) adviser Bill Carrick pointed out that if “job losses remain high in key electoral states” such as OH, MI, PA and MO, an “economic recovery” in CA and the NE “would be unlikely to shift presidential politics”: “There’s a difference between the statistical analysis about the economy and how people feel about the economy. If the Midwest, the industrial states, continue to have this high level of joblessness, it’ll be a huge problem for [the GOP]. All the battleground states will be up for grabs.”
  • Ret. Gen. Wesley Clark (D-AR) adviser Chris Lehane: “A jobless economy is sort of like going on a diet and gaining weight. What’s the point?
  • Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) policy dir. Sarah Bianchi: “Of course, John Kerry welcomes any signs that our economy is improving. However, George Bush still has a way to go to turn around the worst economic record since the Great Depression” (Kornblut, Boston Globe, 10/31).
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT): “While today’s news is encouraging, it does not change the fact that the president has turned Main Street into a one-way street going in the wrong direction” (Hillman, Dallas Morning News, 10/30).
  • Ex-Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT), in a statement: “President Bush has compiled the worst economic record since the Great Depression, and it is going to take a lot more than one quarter of growth to clean it up. The real measure of a strong economy is when average Americans see real benefits and the people who lost their jobs under President Bush are working again.”
  • Sen. John Edwards: “The Bush administration has dug a hole so deep and so wide that it’s going to take a lot more than one quarter to get back on solid ground” (Sammon/Lakely, Washington Times, 10/30).