The nation’s economy continues to show that it’s struggling with a positive outcome looking bleaker as the days and months go by.The country’s unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent, up from June’s total of 5.5 percent, according to the Labor Department. More than 460,000 jobs in many different sectors were also cut in the month with even more possible in the future.
Economists were also disappointed by the economy’s growth of only 1.9 percent last quarter, which was up from 0.9 percent in the first quarter of the year and 0.2 percent rate of contraction in the final three months of 2007.
Many economists thought the economy would have expanded at least 2.5 percent.
“I think the economy is in a really bad place, but I don’t think that the current administration is completely to blame. It’s a cycle that unfortunately has to happen in order for us to become stronger,” said MCC student Brandon Sharp.
Students have been hit harder more so than anyone else by the downtime for the economy.
The price of food, tuition for school, and the cost of gas have skyrocketed recently, which has made it difficult for some to try and balance their budget.
“I’m dealing the way most people are, by working more and saving as much as possible to have when I need to pay for gas. I find myself second guessing if I really need to buy something new,” Sharp said.
Others have seen their hours at their place of employment being cut because of the poor economy and the increase in gas prices.
“It’s cutting hours at work, and people now have to put more out of their smaller paycheck into the gas tank. I personally struggle to get hours at work, with our company budget decreasing,” said ASU freshman Randy Holt.
“I end up going out less for personal time and use my car mainly just to get to work to avoid hurting at the pump.”
With the struggling economy, the demand for gas has gone down because people are trying to conserve their money by spending less time on the road.
Oil was down to $118 per barrel in early August, that’s down nearly $30 from the trading high of $147.27 on July 11.
The price of gas for consumers however, hasn’t taken a drastic dip.
According to fuelgaugereport.com, the price of regular, unleaded gas in Arizona, was $3.86 a gallon in early August, which was down about 22 cents during the same time in July.
“Gas prices are all a product of power hungry corporate tycoons who are continually making more money while the middle and lower classes struggle to balance gas bills with all of our other bills,” Sharp said.
Those power hungry corporate tycoons did very well financially last quarter.
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil company, broke their own previous record, making $11.7 billion in profits last quarter, the largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a U.S. company.
“While ExxonMobil’s profit sounds like a lot, it’s actually not when one takes into the fact that it’s about average to other businesses in other sectors, with respect to percentages,” MCC student Jeff Kurth said.
With the high gas prices on many Americans minds, many solutions to help solve the problem have come from many of the nations top leaders.
Arizona Senator John McCain, as well as New York Senator Hillary Clinton, supported the idea of the Gas Tax Holiday during their respective parties primary season.
The plan would have saved consumers approximately $30 to fill up their tanks over the course of the summer months.
However, the plan was later shot down by many economists and lawmakers because it would have taken away funds to help rebuild parts of the nations crumbling roads, highways, and bridges.It was also viewed by some as a gimmick by both McCain and Clinton to gain votes.
Members of congress from both sides of the aisle have been debating in recent weeks and months on what is the best solution to help solve the problem.
Republicans believe that domestic drilling in places such as Alaska and the Gulf Coast can help lower prices, while Democrats believe that lowering consumption and seeking alternative fuels will help with the problem.
“In the end, I think the higher gas prices are pushing Americans to a level where they’re desperate for Congress to do practically anything, which involves both increasing our domestic drilling and investments in alternative energy,” Kurth said.