Coming soon: PolitiFact's scorecard on the economy
The presidential campaign is turning into a referendum on the American economy.
To sort out their claims, PolitiFact has created a scorecard — a revealing look at what’s up and what’s down in the U.S. economy since January 2008, a year before Obama took office.
We'll post the scorecard later today on PolitiFact, but for now here are some highlights:
• The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 40 consecutive months.
• The number of food stamp beneficiaries rose by 50 percent between October 2008 and February 2012.
• Corporate profits in 2011 were 56 percent higher than they were in 2008.
• The Dow Jones Industrial Average has gone up an average of roughly 11 percent per year since Obama took office.
• The weekly average price of gasoline exceeded $4 per gallon for nine weeks in the summer of 2008 and for three weeks in May 2011.
• Residential natural gas prices in February 2012 are at a nine-year low.
• Household debt as a percentage of disposable income is at a 28-year low.
• Mortgage rates in February 2012 fell to their lowest level since Federal Reserve data became available in 1971.
• Prior to 2009, the record annual federal deficit was less than half a trillion dollars, in 2008. In each of the three subsequent years — 2009, 2010 and 2011 — it has exceeded $1 trillion, with 2012 expected to exceed that level as well.