January 28, 2018


As Trump Prepares For Big Speech, State Of The Economy Is Strong (Scott Horsley, 1/28/18, NPR)

The U.S. economy is benefiting from a global recovery in which major markets around the world are expanding simultaneously for the first time in years. [...]


The stock market is surging. Last year, the Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all logged their biggest gains in four years, and the runup has continued in the first month of 2018. That's good news for investors and anyone with a stock-based retirement plan. The vast majority of gains, however, have gone to people who are already at the top of the income ladder. Nearly half of all Americans don't own any stocks at all.


Ordinary wage-earners have yet to see big pay raises, despite the steadily improving job market. Wages grew by an average of 2.5 percent last year, just barely ahead of inflation.

Gary Cohn, who directs the president's National Economic Council, acknowledged there is a lot of room for improvement.

"For the last three, four, five years, we've had no wage growth in the United States," Cohn told reporters last week. [...]

U.S. energy production is also booming. Domestic oil producers are expected to pump a record 10.4 million barrels per day this year, surpassing Saudi Arabia's output. The Trump administration has encouraged that growth by opening more land and offshore waters to drilling, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. But the energy surge was already underway when Trump took office, largely driven by technological developments such as hydraulic fracturing or "fracking."

"The global energy market has been turned upside down by what's happening in the United States in terms of shale gas and shale oil," said energy historian Daniel Yergin of IHS Markit.

That's having positive ripple effects far beyond the oil patch. "Inexpensive natural gas has led to well north of $100 billion of new investment in U.S. manufacturing and has made the U.S. a destination for manufacturing investment which was hardly the case a decade ago," said Yergin, author of The Prize and The Quest. [...]

Although Trump campaigned against America's rising trade deficit, it has only widened on his watch. In the first 11 months of 2017, the deficit was 12 percent larger than the year before.

Posted by at January 28, 2018 9:57 AM