The invaluable Brian Wesbury, Chief Economist of First Trust, recently made some interesting comments about the economy.
First, there are the employment statistics:
The best news for the consumer is that the labor market continues to heal. At 4.4%, the unemployment rate is the lowest since 2007. Some watch what they call the “true” unemployment rate, which includes discouraged workers as well as part-timers who claim they’d prefer full-time jobs – that’s 8.6%, also the lowest since 2007. Meanwhile, wages and salaries are up 5.5% in the past year, outstripping inflation.
Meanwhile the average American has reduced his debt burden to levels not seen since the early 1980s. While student loans have reached record levels and auto loans delinquencies have grown, consumer debt has dropped by 50% since the end of 2009.
Finally, consumers have changed their buying patterns. They are shifting their buying to the Internet and away from brick-and-mortar stores. Some of the old-line retailers are experiencing sales and profitability problems even as a company like Amazon is building physical stores.
We remain in the midst of a technological revolution. Stay alert and very nimble.
If you want to learn how to navigate your way through the shoals and rapids of the investment river, give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.