Just as Democrats and the liberal left were feeling euphoric about the president's re-election to four more years in the oval office, numbers began rolling in that put a more somber face on this so-called economic recovery.

The Department of Labor announced that new jobless claims rose by a staggering 78,000 in the first week after the election, reaching a seasonally-adjusted total of 439,000. In the weeks leading up to the election, jobless claims were said to be declining, dipping as low as 339,000. The mainstream media eagerly ran with the pre-election White House story that claims had reached the "lowest level in more than four years."

Over 100,000 jobs were lost in the first week-and-a-half after Obama's re-election. The biggest story concerned Hostess, the company that has given us Wonder Bread, Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Ho's. Beset by debt, management turmoil, rising labor costs and a changing American palate, the company decided it couldn't make it through a conventional Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring and has been attempting to mediate its way out of liquidation and hopefully, save 18,500 jobs.

News of the possible demise of Hostess put Twinkie lovers in a panic mode. The pastry treat quickly vanished from store shelves and like any hot commodity, was soon being peddled online at ridiculous prices. Sellers were commanding as much as $10,000 for a package of 10 Twinkies on auction websites like eBay. Investors cautioned, however, that there was really no reason to panic since it was likely that another company would purchase the Twinkie brand.

There are clouds hanging over other iconic American companies. Sears recently announced a loss of nearly $500 million dollars in the third quarter and warns that if the bleeding of red ink continues, it it too will be headed for troubled waters.

The fact that the administration continues to saddle companies with rules and regulations certainly isn't helping. The Obama administration has reportedly posted a total of 6,125 regulations on its regulations.gov website during the past 90 days.

A week after his re-election, Obama held several days of "listening sessions" with leaders of civic and politically progressive groups. The president also met with 13 CEOs of major U.S. corporations but shut out of the meetings were non-union members of the middle class.

Dan Danner, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business, called the snub "an insult to the business owners who create two-thirds of net new jobs." He said it was clear that the discussion between the president and the top CEOs was about "raising rates on small-business owners, not on the people in the room."

For those with strong stomach, the website Daily Job Cuts.Com gives daily updates on layoffs around the nation but be warned, this overview is quite depressing.

Some feel that the depressing economic numbers we're seeing in this economy are at a tipping point and before you can say Twinkie, things could go from bad to worse.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [1]