Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
As the nation's economy settles into post-war mode it is more apparent, things could be better.
The rate of unemployment has climbed to six percent, the second highest level in 11 months. Much of the weakness is due to stagnating manufacturing and construction sectors. How to jump start the economy is a bigger question than ever.
Federal Reserve Chairman this week discounted the administration's proposed solution, tax cuts. Indeed, the Fed Chairman told a congressional committee the economy was poised to grow and that budget deficits resulting from lower taxes without reductions in spending could be damaging to the recovery. At week's end, in the face of mounting deficit projections, the White House retreated from its most ambitious tax cut proposals.
Meanwhile in Rural America, the major economic sector remains on its seasonal pace, despite some welcome meteorological delays.
The rainy week throughout the Midwest brought up sub-soil moisture and slowed planting. Overall, prices of corn were pushed down while beans rallied to test early season highs.
In the field, 29% of the corn is in the ground, 4% ahead of last year. Analysts point to rain, poor export demand, and commodity fund selling for the current drop in price.
Winter wheat has emerged and 21% has headed, one percent ahead of last year. Meanwhile, 45% of the spring wheat has been planted, 25% ahead of last year at this time.
Cotton is going in the ground throughout the South and Southwest. 18% has been planted, 6% behind last year's pace but only 1% behind the four-year average.
And throughout the Midwest, soybean planting has begun with 3% of available acres planted, on pace with last season. This week, highs in the market were tested as the last of the Brazilian crop comes in the door. For the third year in a row, Brazilian producers are expected to maintain the number one spot in soy exports. According to USDA estimates, Brazil will send more than 37-million metric tons of soy products into the market place, about 5-million metric tons ahead of the United States.