Five Facts: State of the Economy Today

Today, many pundits and economists are warning that the U.S. is at serious risk of a recession in the upcoming year. Many have cited the Federal Reserve raising interest rates and the stock market’s volatility at the end of 2018 as evidence of this. However, by some important metrics — including job creation and average hourly earnings — the country’s economy is booming. 

Here are five facts on the current state of the U.S economy.

1. According to POLITICO the nation's economy added 312,000 jobs in December 2018 alone. 

The publication reports that this is nearly double the job growth from November 2018, which was 176,000 jobs. This means the country has been adding jobs for 99 consecutive months. Moreover, The Guardian notes that economists had predicted that the U.S. would only add around 180,000 jobs in December. 

2. On top of this, the construction industry is facing a critical worker shortage, highlighting the continued real estate development boom. 

Fox Business underscores that 79 percent of the country's construction businesses plan to expand in the coming year. However, a recent study showed that 78 percent of firms polled said they had trouble finding workers for jobs. Having more open jobs than there are people looking is also a problem in other fields, including home health care and farming.

3. In December 2018 average hourly earnings had risen 3.2 percent from the year before and 0.1 percent from the month before. 

The Washington Post writes that this growth is following "years of tepid improvements." This is coupled with having eight months of unemployment below four percent. In September the unemployment rate was 3.7 percent, the lowest it has been in close to half a century.

4. The national housing market slowed in 2018 because of record prices and high mortgage rates, a trend that could continue in the new year. 

Major markets like New York City, Seattle, and Miami have seen a decrease in foreign buyers who may not return, The Wall Street Journal reports. However, a slowdown could be beneficial to buyers who have previously been priced out of various markets. Redfin, a Seattle-based real estate brokerage firm, provided data that in November only 32 percent of clients faced a competing bid, the lowest since record keeping began in 2011.

5. While the stock market has been volatile over the past few weeks many experts believe it is not an excellent predictor of the economy in the short term.

Yahoo Finance reports that the S&P 500 fell 19.8 percent in late 2018. Yet this is still 30 percent higher than when President Trump was elected in November 2016. President Trump has also had the best stock market performance of any president in his first two years since President Eisenhower took office in the early 1950s.

No Labels is an organization of Democrats, Republicans, and independents working to bring American leaders together to solve problems.

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