President Obama offers a realistic economic outlook

Speaking today at the G8 meeting, President Barack Obama argued that the world had dodged a bullet and avoided an economic collapse even though a "full recovery is a ways off." This view is backed up by some economists.

"The biggest declines are behind us but I don't think we are at bottom yet," said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poors, in an interview with DailyFinance. He believes that the worst for the economy may come in September, a view shared by many of his colleagues.

There are some signs of improvement in the capital markets, housing and oil prices. Economic data show signs of the economy being "less bad" than it was, although it continues to be very weak. Nonetheless, signs of weakness remain including an unemployment rate at a 26-year high. Obama argued that the world's leaders can't afford to become complacent.

"While our markets are improving and we appear to have averted a global collapse, we know that too many people are still struggling," The Associated Press quotes him as saying.

Bob Doll, BlackRock Inc.'s Chief Investment Officer, told DailyFinance that Obama has done a good job in lessening fear in the economy but that he "is spending my, my kids and my grandkids money...It's scary."
He added that things are certainly "less bad" but whether they are improving remains to be seen.

In an interview, IHS Global Insight Chief Economist Nariman Behravesh told DailyFinance that it is not surprising that unemployment remains high since it is a lagging indicator whose recovery will trail the rest of the economy. He also argues that the economy won't hit bottom for a month or two. His forecast calls for unemployment to reach 10.3 percent, up from 9.7 percent where it stands now.

One factor that will be difficult for Obama to predict is consumer confidence. It hit a 9-month high in the U.K. today. Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell marginally in the latest figures. As long as people are worried about losing their jobs and paying their bills, they are just going to bury their money in their backyards until the worst of the economic tsunami has passed.

For now economists are giving Obama offering the American people a realistic view of the economy.

"That's a correct assessment," Behravesh said of Obama's remarks. "We certainly did avoid an Armageddon situation."

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