Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Bright Economic News

The economy is looking good, despite what you keep hearing from the MSM.

Earlier this morning we learned that the U.S. economy added 215,000 jobs in November, beating the expected mark and posting the highest number in four months. Over the past year nearly 2 million jobs have been created -- and nearly 4.5 million jobs have been added since May 2003, when the job market began its turnaround. The unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent -- below the average unemployment rate of the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s. The Labor Department report shows that the American economy not only remains resilient in the face of two major hurricanes that did enormous damage to the Gulf Coast region but that, in fact, the economy continues to grow at a remarkable rate.

Today's job figure is not the only encouraging news on the economic front. Here are a few other recent economic data points that underscore that the American economy is a wonder of the modern world:

- The U.S. economy grew at a robust 4.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the best rate in more than a year. Economic growth has been remarkably steady and strong over the past two-and-a-half years -- and the economy has now grown 3.3 percent or more for 10 straight quarters.

- Gas prices have dropped 30 percent since September (from $3.07 per gallon to $2.15 per gallon).

- Inflation was lower than projected. The consumer price index rose at a 3.6 percent annual rate, and core inflation was at its lowest level in more than two years.

- Consumer spending increased 4.2 percent in the third quarter, beating the estimated mark and setting the fastest pace since the end of 2004.

- Business spending on equipment and software grew by a 10.8 percent annual rate in the third quarter.

- Sales of single family homes showed the biggest one-month gain in more than 12 years, increasing by 13 percent in October.

- Orders for durable goods showed the largest increase since June of 2000, increasing by 3.4 percent in October.

- Consumer confidence soared. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence rating increased by 13 points to 98.9 for November. The University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence index also rose, growing by 7 points.

- Yesterday the Dow Jones industrial average closed within 90 points of 11,000, a level the Dow hasn't hit since June 2001.
And Jonah Goldberg points out that our good news is also good news for the rest of the world.
One point that doesn't get enough play is that US economy is keeping the world afloat. We do hear this fact fairly often, but it's always couched in bad news rhetoric, particularly in terms of trade with China. But the reality is the Japanese economy is only now (maybe, sorta) emerging from decades of suckiness. We create more jobs by accident than all the industrial planners in Europe have been able to create in years of hard strategizing around mahogany tables festooned with clever cheese. Everyone likes to gripe about American capitalism, but if it weren't for American capitalism the Frenchies would be eating Hamburger Helper a couple times a week and millions more Third Worlders would be in total poverty
Understandably this doesn't mean much to those out of work, but the best way to create new jobs is through the continued success of private enterprise and in that regard even those who are out of work now should feel some hope for the future.