Markets & Economy

More reminders that economy is not Obama’s strength

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The net result of a Fed meeting and a blizzard of brand-new data for July: Long-term rates are unchanged. But some other things are creaking along. The Fed's post-meeting statement downshifted from "moderate" growth to "modest" (the words are synonyms in ordinary English, but not at the Fed). At 1.7 percent, annual GDP growth for April through June seemed to outperform expectations, but was actually plodding when revisions and weird accounting are taken into account. The GDP measure of inflation: 0.8 percent annualized, less than half the Fed's forecast. The July report from the Institute for Supply Management (the old purchasing managers' index) jumped the forecast, clear over 55, and broke a weak trend. Today the whale: Jobs data for July were disappointing in every respect, with only two-thirds the jobs expected, declines in workweek and overtime, and wages rolled back part of June's surprise gain. Mortgage rate-watching is a simple affair, now. We will stay put if data ...