by Lil Tuttle
Whatever the Trump Administration is doing, we should hope it keeps it up. The economic news is getting better and better.
Consumer Confidence is Up
The Conference Board announced this month that its Consumer Confidence Index rose to 133.4, “its highest level since October 2000.”
Those stating business conditions are “good” increased from 38.1 percent to 40.3 percent, while those saying business conditions are “bad” declined from 10.3 percent to 9.1 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of the labor market was also more favorable. Those claiming jobs are “plentiful” was virtually unchanged at 42.7 percent, while those claiming jobs are “hard to get” declined from 14.8 percent to 12.7 percent.
Median Household Income is Up
Sentier Research reported the Median Household Income for July 2018 stood at $62,450, “higher than any other month since January 2000.” The unemployment rate for July was at 3.9%.
Blue Collar Workers Satisfied and Optimistic
A new study of blue collar workers by Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals found that 86 percent were satisfied with their job, 85 percent believe their life is heading “in the right direction,” and 51 percent say the country is heading in the right direction.
“More than two-thirds (68 percent) report a pay increase in the past year,” and 39 percent of those received a pay raise of more than 5 percent.
On a down note, though, their satisfaction doesn’t extend to politicians: 70% don’t trust elected officials.
U.S. Energy Production is Up
The world still moves on oil, so nations that produce it are economically better off than those who must buy it from others. Thanks to new technologies, the U.S. has been experiencing a growing American oil and gas boom for the last decade, reports Fortune.
U.S. oil production could reach 11.8 million barrels a day next year, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts in its July short-term energy outlook. That would make it the world’s biggest oil producer, ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia, for the first time since the mid-1970s.
As a result, American oil imports could drop as low as 1.6 million barrels a day, which would be the lowest level since 1958.
Overall Economic Growth is Up
“The U.S. economy expanded in the second quarter at a slightly faster pace than previously estimated,” reports Bloomberg. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at a 4.2% annualized rate. Consumer spending, “the biggest part of the economy,” grew 3.8%.
Household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, have been supported by a strong job market and lower taxes. In addition, a rise in gasoline costs earlier this year has eased, reducing a risk to spending.
After years of Obama-era stagnation, write the editors at Investor’s Business Daily, “overall economic growth is accelerating.”
On Wednesday, the Commerce Department boosted its estimate of Second Quarter growth to 4.2%. That means average growth for first half of the year was above 3%. And if it continues strong in the third quarter — as appears to be the case — chances are we will see growth for the entire year at or above 3%. That would be the first time since 2005.