Is the economy improving?
Includes employment, finances, and government spending.
I would say that it is not improving because of the dwindling middle class.
If we could get our heads wrapped round the idea that sports are games, not multi-gillion-dollar enterprises; and if we could keep from getting involved in wars... And put all of that wasted money toward education of ourselves and our kids in reading, writing, and arithmetic, I think a re-focus on technology and learning would improve our economy in a few generations. Until then.. More McMansions and soup kitchens for the "haves" and the "have-nots", I'm afraid.
According to the "numbers" the answer is clearly (YES).
The stock market looks to finish ahead of last year and has periodically been at record levels this year.
Housing sales and purchases have also picked up which may cause interest rates to go up some though.
The unemployment rate is lower than it has been in quite awhile.
With the onset of Christmas holidays retailers are expecting a better year than last year. This is especially true of high tech gadgets like iPhones and so forth.
We're bringing more troops home every day from Afghanistan and by some "miracle" we have yet to enter into another costly war.
The "sequester" of the government has placed automatic cuts on spending and the deficit is slowly going down.
Now for the bad news: The psychology or mindset of the people is still not feeling positive no matter what numbers say! People who have jobs, money in the bank, buying new cars, and taking vacations are far from screaming that these are great times. Everyday we hear about the infighting in Washington D.C. and the uncertainty of the effects of the healthcare bill. A lot of talk is going on about the "2016" elections, the city of Detroit filed bankruptcy and on and on it goes. However for the most part if a person looks at their (own) circumstances instead of what is going on with others or worrying about things they have no control over I believe by and large most people will end this year ahead of where they were last year.
Except perhaps those of us who have been unemployed for a year and way underemployed the previous 2 years followed by unemployment the three prior years and lost our houses... Unemployment stats don't mean people are fully employed...
Laura, You're correct it really comes down to what is going on each "individual" household. Overall though the economy is much better than 2008/9. More people are taking vacations and buying property. Those numbers can't be fudged. The Dow is way up
True! But, stats are easily manipulated. For ex:, "more people are buying property" statistics include all of the foreclosure/for pennies properties, and house prices are deflated most places. Stats seemed rosy in 2000, before the dot-com bomb, too.
What are the alternative ways to measure if there has been improvement if we don't go by the numbers? There will never be 100% employment nor will there be a time when everyone is happy with their life. Every business compares quarterly numbers.
Agreed, but you just have to be careful that you know what the stats are actually measuring before concluding that they're representative of a particular thing. I think you were right that it's individual households, not broad-brush stats...
When I'm at the grocery store, there are so many people who are shopping with huge carriages full of food. This is an improvement here from say two years ago. The other things are the restaurants. We can't get in one on a Friday or Saturday night. We usually go early bird hour at 4 p.m. just to get a seat. It implies that there is money some where, I just haven't had the magic money tree sprout in my own yard yet!
Those ARE good signs, as long as Visa isn't paying for all of that luxury (unless Visa is paid off each month)! :-) Visa bought me dinner at the Taco Bell drive through last week--heavenly/decadent (the whole place was deserted at 6 p.m., though).
In short NO.
The talking heads will blow up the numbers as they always do and then in due time they will admit it was an error.
To grasp it you can't look at the end of your nose, you have to look at the longer time span. going back decades, even further, to when the government started the practice of cooking the books rather than fixing any of the problems.
IE: JFK didn't like the high unemployment numbers so he changed the counting to have anyone unemployed for more than a set time dropped from the counting. LBJ wanted to hide the outrageous cost of the Vietnam war on the GNP so he took a page out of Eisenhower's playbook and set up a transfer of all the money from the Social Security fund to the general fund with next to no paper trail.
Each following administration, and there haven't been any exceptions, found different ways to hide the real numbers from the taxpayers while the only change has been the acceleration down the slope.
Government wasteful spending and rampant growth is skyrocketing on an increasing upward arc paralleled by corruption and greed.
Yes there have been a few peaks and valleys but as a whole it is straight downhill.
Until America changes the basic way it conducts itself there is little chance of any meaningful improvement. And so long as the political scene remains locked with the two parties who have been responsible, owned by their respective special interests, nothing will actually improve.
So long as the power of America is up to the highest bidder the taxpayers will be working for the few.
In the 60s the average American worked the first 3 months of each year working for the few. Today it is something like 9 months.
But politicians will continue to lie, the media will continue to swear to it and the people will continue to believe it all.
A very frank and wise commentary, Borsia. Thanks for bringing additional perspective and wit to this discussion.
Actually I don't believe most people believe the country has improved economically. They've forgotten how BAD 2008 and 2009 were. GM stock was down to $2.50 a share, foreclosures and loan defaults were at record levels. Recovery has been slow though
The economy is never the problem. Personal initiative, ambition, planning and creativity is the real problem. Look at the Forbes list. People are making millions and billions non-stop. Look in the mirror. There is the problem. What is your excuse? A bitter pill perhaps.
I am a economics student from India. i believe that almost all the today's issues arose just after the recent crisis of 2007-08. now, many of the countries are in recovering state like US, European countries. some of the countries are still facing the recession like Greece. another notable performance of two countries are India and China. China keep around 9-10 growth while India performed 7-9.5. in short almost all the countries are in recovering state. so, employment, financial role of central banks plays a vital role.
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Uh huh. And pigs are starting to fly. I see things loosening up for the affluent. That's about it. Let it trickle down to the average joe and I'll have more of a comment.
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