Bloomberg reports:

“More Americans than forecast filed claims for unemployment benefits and an index of leading indicators declined for second time in three months, adding to signs of weakness in the world’s largest economy.

Jobless claims decreased by 3,000 in the week ended Sept. 15 to 382,000, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg projected 375,000. The New York-based Conference Board’s gauge of the outlook for the next three to six months fell 0.1 percent after a 0.5 percent increase in July.

Moreover, the report notes, “Companies are holding back on hiring and investment as overseas demand cools and the prospect of tax increases and spending cuts in the U.S. threatens growth”

In other words because the president has made zero effort to prevent the fiscal cliff in advance, the economy may slow down even further. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.), the chief deputy majority whip, on CNBC Thursday decried the lack of action on the economy. He specifically addressed the fiscal cliff:

Roskam is right when he says both problems could be solved now:

The House has acted already to do two things. The House said, ‘Let’s pass the current tax rates for another year, but don’t do them just for the sake of doing them;’ do them as a bridge to fundamentally reform the tax code, which is some of the Ways & Means and the Senate Finance hearing consideration that was under way earlier.

And he also went after the Democrats for not working to head off the sequestration cuts. “The House has also acted and said, ‘Here’s an alternative to the sequestration that is poised to happen.’ Remember, sequestration was never meant to be policy; it was meant to be so provocative to move the Super Committee to action. So there’s an opportunity to do this. I’ve been disappointed on the other side of the aisle; there’s been some leading Democrats that have said that they embrace the fiscal cliff and that we need to go over it. And that makes no sense to me.”

The economy is not improving week by week, month by month as the president would have us believe. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a conservative economist, told me succinctly that movement in the job situation “looks like sideways to modest weakening.” No wonder Obama wants to go on David Letterman rather than answer serious questions from the press corps.