The economy, which many analysts believe is already in a recession, was foremost on most voters’ minds Tuesday. Six in 10 voters said it was the most important issue.
The country’s gross domestic product — a measure of the overall economy — shrank by 0.3 percent in the July-September quarter, the government said last week. More bad economic news is likely this week. Wall Street economists expect the Labor Department to report Friday that companies cut 200,000 jobs in October, as the financial meltdown worsened, sending the unemployment rate to 6.3 percent. Unemployment stood at 4.9 percent at the beginning of this year.
The stock markets, after rallying on Election Day, fell in early trading Wednesday. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 140 points, or 1.5 percent, to 9,485, while the broader S&P 500 fell more than 1 percent.
Obama is expected to move quickly to put his stamp on the huge $700 billion financial bailout Congress approved last month, analysts said.
Anil Kashyap, an economics professor at the University of Chicago, said Tuesday that naming the next Treasury Secretary and his top deputies should be the new president’s economic priority.