Just because there is always something to be worried about . . . that doesn’t mean you should always be worried.
A recent CNN survey reported that 60% of Americans think the economy is doing poorly. Let’s see? The latest ISM-Services data is the best since 1997, catching up with ISM-Manufacturing which boomed after the Lockdown ended. GDP growth was a very robust 6% in Q1 and Q2. It dipped in Q3 (due to the Delta variant) but early data shows Q4 is bouncing back. Unit Labor Costs have increased in Q3 (which decreases productivity), but that is healthy in the long-term. It reflects the strong labor market, where there are more jobs available than available workers. For the last three months, we have created 440 thousands jobs each month. Consumers are healthy, with record high savings and less credit card debt. An old Wall Street adage is that the stock market mirrors and predicts the economy in 6 – 9 months later. Did anybody notice the stock market is at record highs?
Yes, there are things to be concerned about, such as inflation, which reflects the perfect storm of an emergency increase in money supply and a surprisingly severe supply chain disruption. Of course, I’m concerned but not worried about long-term inflation. Actually, I’m more concerned the Fed will raise interest rates too soon or too fast, whenever they do become concerned. Also, our exports are not growing as fast as our imports, primarily because the global economy is not growing as fast of the U.S. economy. (Interestingly, with fewer exports, there are fewer large shipping containers going abroad, where they are badly needed.)
A writer for The New York Times suggested we may be living in the Era of Exhaustion. Maybe. Losing so many people during this long pandemic, plus the selfish partisanship of our leaders, plus the steady stream of bad news from a soul-sapping mass media . . . all that is certainly exhausting. Whew!