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Video: Numbers predict cruel 'recovery summer'

  1. Transcript of: Numbers predict cruel 'recovery summer'

    CURRY: Good evening. I'm Ann Curry in for Brian Williams .

    ANN CURRY, anchor: And tonight, new signs the economy is slowing down. From a jump in first-time claims for unemployment benefits to a record low number of home sales to slowdowns in manufacturing, construction and auto sales, it's all pointing to an economy that looks much less healthy than it did a few weeks ago. And that was reflected in the stock market today. The Dow closed down another 41 points, standing now at 9,732. The Dow has been down six trading days in a row now. All this is leading up to a monthly unemployment report out tomorrow, and many are bracing for more bad news. We've NBC 's Lee Cowan , who's been working to make sense of all these new numbers, now joining us from Los Angeles .

    CURRY: Lee :

    LEE COWAN reporting: Well, Ann , the Obama administration had been calling this recovery summer with trips planned for both the president and the vice president to all around the country to highlight various infrastructure projects that they hope will create new jobs, but numbers out today indicate that that recovery may be fizzling and there are now new economic worries on the rise. Stocks plunged again today as worries over the nation's economic health were spelled out in black and white . From dips in manufacturing and construction to slides in both home and auto sales, today's figures were discouraging.

    STEVE LIESMAN reporting: The worry about these numbers is that they speak of worse to come in the economy, and they raise the specter that maybe we're going to have a double-dip recession.

    COWAN: The biggest worry is jobs. The June numbers out tomorrow are expected to be weak. For people like Michael White , unemployed now for two years, the summer of recovery seems hardly that.

    Mr. MICHAEL WHITE: I don't see this as a recovery summer at all. I see that there are still no jobs. They're still laying people off everywhere I look.

    COWAN: He just got his last unemployment check. But he, like others, are hoping he'll get another extension. But Congress adjourned for a weeklong recess without agreeing on a package. The Labor Department says that means more than 1.7 million people will have their benefits cut off by the end of this week, and more than three million by the end of the month. Federal incentives propping up the housing market have expired, too. Tax credits for homebuyers ended in April. A month later, pending home sales plunged 30 percent, even though mortgage rates remained fairly low.

    LIESMAN: It isn't just one piece of data, it's all of the data that shows that the stronger growth we had earlier this year has definitely eased off.

    Mr. BILL VAUGHAN: This'll be dry by tonight?

    COWAN: Bill Vaughan was counting on federal stimulus money to keep his construction company afloat, but now even that's drying up.

    Mr. VAUGHAN: There's nothing out there right now.

    COWAN: He was set to hire at least two employees this summer. Now he says he can't afford to. So what happens when this job is done?

    Mr. VAUGHAN: I'm seriously contemplating closing up my company.

    COWAN: Now, Ann , local governments are struggling, too. Today actually is the beginning of the new fiscal year, and already several states have announced some pretty deep cuts for 2011 , everything from education to slashing workers' pay. Ann :

    CURRY: All right, Lee Cowan tonight. Lee Cowan , thanks so much.

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