What may touch more Americans more directly every day, however, is the state of the US economy.
Here is the disconnect between the data and daily life: People are feeling the pinch due to rising costs at the gas pump and the grocery store even when there’s a lot of very good economic news to be thankful for.
I’ve borrowed much of her language for this list of arguably good news, which includes:
- US industrial output is racing ahead above pre-pandemic levels.
- Auto manufacturing bounced back last month and factory output would have been even stronger if not for hiccups in the corporate supply chain.
- Corporate profits are enviable and big companies are navigating supply chain woes, passing along higher costs to customers and even padding their profit margins along the way.
- The biggest publicly traded companies have bigger profit margins today than before the pandemic, and your retirement account probably shows it.
- The Dow is up 17% this year and the S&P 500 is up 25%. If you step back farther since the market crashed in 2020, some averages have doubled.
- Workers have the upper hand. You’ve heard it called the “Great Resignation” — Americans quitting their jobs in record numbers. In September, 4.4 million jumped ship, and economists say many are taking better jobs with higher pay and starting bonuses.
- Paychecks are fatter after years of sluggish wage growth, especially for low-wage workers. Wage growth is nearing 5%.
- Americans are saving. Thanks to higher pay, Covid-19 stimulus checks and child tax credits, Americans have an excess $2.3 trillion in savings since the crisis began. JP Morgan says its median checking account balance is 50% higher this year than in 2019.
- The economy is adding jobs. Overall, 5.8 million jobs were added this year.
There is certainly a contradiction here if the national mood is down while the economic indicators are up.