Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - The modest uptick in economic growth is a welcomed breather in the bleak Obama economy, but it won't reduce unemployment anytime soon.

The Commerce Department's report Thursday that the gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the economy's performance, grew at an annual rate of 2.5 percent. It means the economy is still weak -- far from the 3.5 percent to 5 percent growth needed to put millions of unemployed Americans back to work.

The government's estimate, and that's what it really is, will be revised at least twice in the months to come and it may well be less than 2.5. But, whatever the real rate may be, economists aren't expecting GDP to take off in the last three months of this year or next year, either.

"We are looking at very disappointing growth over the next year. 

It will be far short of what is needed to get businesses to hire more aggressively," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.

The Obama administration will, no doubt, try to turn this 2.5 percent rate into "morning in America" campaign ads, but the long-term unemployed know the difference, and so do top economic analysts.

This is what passes for growth in the Age of Obama. This is about as good as it's going to get in his presidency. This GDP rate "implies that the economy is growing only about as fast as it is capable of in the longer term," writes Washington Post economic reporter Neil Irwin.

"But it's not fast enough to claw out of the deep hole of 9 percent unemployment," Irwin says, adding that it "isn't strong enough to bring down unemployment meaningfully, even if it were sustained."

The Gallup Poll's daily survey shows that nearly three- quarters of Americans say the economy is getting worse. The Conference Board, a private research firm, reported Tuesday that consumer confidence fell again this month to the lowest level since March 2009.

That's bad news for President Obama who's had three years to get the economy and job creation up and growing again but with little success.

The economy is still limping along, and almost went into a stall in the first half of this year. Obama's jobs plan No. 2, a poisonous brew of higher taxes and more spending (that even several Senate Democrats oppose) is going nowhere in this Congress. A hastily- assembled campaign agenda of executive orders are minimal initiatives at best that are not going to move a $14 trillion economy or create many new jobs.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.