Mount Obama: A steep climb

President-elect Barack Obama is due to meet the press shortly and make observations about, or even announce a course of action, regarding the state of the nation's economy. The press meet will come after a powwow with his high profile economic advisory group, a team that includes billionaire investor Warren Buffett, ex-commerce secretary William Daley and former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker. The meet will come hard on the heels of a Labour Dept report just out that the US economy has lost 240,000 jobs in October and unemployment rate has now surged to its highest level in more than 14 years.

Barack ObamaOctober is now the tenth consecutive month that the economy has shed jobs with the manufacturing and service sectors registering the highest losses.

If he is aware, then it is likely that Obama may be slightly cheered by the news that the West Indian island country of Antigua and Barbuda has announced that it is considering renaming the island's highest mountain peak, Boggy Peak, as Mount Obama.

This would not, however, divert his mind from the mountain of difficulties he needs to climb, the scale of which has not been experienced by the country since the 1930s.

Plunging employment numbers, a meltdown in the financial sector, a collapsed housing market, a shaky Wall Street coupled with somewhat longer-term, but equally pressing, challenges, as represented by health care and foreign energy supplies, all present a troubled view from the mountain top.

In their outlook, economists are near-unanimous that the US faces a deeper downturn before it manages to swing out of the lethal cocktail of economic worries and challenges that it is now faced with.