Is it just me or do we seem to be permanently grumpy about the state of the economy? I hate to be the guy trying to highlight some of the good in a pretty weak recovery, but this economy just can’t get any respect. I find myself thinking about this on the heels of the employment report which was pretty good. But if you look at the news headlines it “missed expectations” and was actually a “net negative” because of past revisions. And that seems to be the story of this recovery. No matter how good things get we seem to be able to convince ourselves that things just aren’t that good or that the next big crisis is right around the corner. The scars of the crisis run very, very deep.
I am going to be ridiculous now and talk about how good some things actually are. So, here are some interesting macro data points that actually point to things being much better than the mainstream media might have us all believe:
1) The U6 unemployment, which includes all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, has fallen to a new low. And while it’s still elevated we are well off the highs of the crisis:
2) The Misery Index, which adds the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation, is nearing an all-time low.
3) Industrial production is just shy of an all-time high:
There are countless other metrics. Unemployment claims are at their lows, food stamp usage is declining rapidly, Real GDP is at all-time highs, corporate profits are at all-time highs and even wages are starting to climb according to the latest Employment Cost Index.
Look, I get it. If I wanted to be the most popular kid in the financial blogosphere I’d write dramatic articles every day about how the world is ending and what the next crisis is going to be. That’s 10X more exciting (and useless) than a post like this. But I made a promise to myself long ago that I would never succumb to that sort of emotional writing. I promised myself I’d write about what I actually see and try to provide the reader with a pragmatic and objective perspective of reality. And from my perch things appear better than the media often seems to portray.