Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON - President Obama heads into the third month of his second term, still unable to find a cure for a sluggish economy, weak employment numbers and his own slipping job approval scores.

Second terms are usually challenging for presidents who have won reelection without having the slightest idea what they would do over the next four years. And that's what we are witnessing now with Obama whose biggest problem is the lackluster, anemic, sub-par, job-challenged economy.

The Gallup Poll this week reports that his job approval rating is an underwhelming 47 percent versus a muscular 48 percent who disapprove of his performance, and that the nation's economic confidence index slipped further in March to minus-16, "its lowest level since December."

The depressing headlines of the past few days tell a sad and despair-filled tale of what the economy is like under his presidency:

-- "Weekly Jobless Claims Get Weaker as Outlook Dims" was the gloomy headline over a Reuters news wire story Thursday morning on the CNBC web site.

"The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to its highest level in four months last week, suggesting the labor market recovery lost some steam in March," Reuters reported.

-- "Hiring is weaker at private companies," a Washington Post headline blared Thursday.

"Companies hired at the weakest pace in five months in March as recent strong demand for construction jobs evaporated and growth in the vast services sector slowed, signs that the economic recovery could be hitting a soft patch," the newspaper reported.

That's the conclusion of the ADP National Employment Report Wednesday which showed "that private employers added 158,000 jobs last month." The ADP job survey said "The gain was the smallest since October."

A separate report Wednesday on the services industry, the economy's largest job sector, showed that employment growth "pulled back in March."

You do not hear any of these reports on the nightly TV network news programs because they cherry-pick reports that feed the White House line of a continuing economic recovery.

News of rising home sales and prices, in the face of a shrinking number of existing homes that are for sale, is reported as another huge sign of the economy's recovery.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.