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December 27, 2019

Economic News: Yuge. The Yugest.

Women, Kurt hardest hit.

The U.S. economy proved remarkably resilient in 2019, defying recession fears that dominated the headlines throughout the year. The economy has entered the longest expansion in American history, surpassing the economic boom of the 1990s.

United States consumers, buoyed by the strong labor market, have continued to drive economic growth during the past year against a backdrop of weak business sentiment.

Increased hiring and rising wages have powered consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy. The stock market also rose steadily throughout the year, boosting household income and allowing people to spend more.

Although the economy slowed down some from 2018's great 3% growth rate, 2019 was marked by a global economic slowdown/recession, and the US "powered through" that, as they might say of Hillary Clinton having a seizure on the street.

The United States "is the only Group of Seven countries that will post growth above 2 percent this year," they wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, adding that tax reform boosted productivity and wages.

I'm not a fan of Amazon or Jeff Bezos, but the huge sales the online giant recorded are bad news for Democrat Socialists (by which I mean, "Democrats") who want to claim that Trump's policies are hurting people.

The bonanza lifted the NASDAQ above 9000 for the first time in history.

Amazon's "record-breaking" holiday season drove the stock up 4.5% on Thursday and helped lift the Nasdaq composite index above 9,000 for the first time ever.

All stocks indexes are up, bigly:

Also joining in the fun was the S&P 500, which climbed 0.5%, to close at 3,239.91, after having touched a new high of 3,240.08 in intraday trading. The Dow Jones industrial average topped out at a record 28,624.10 before giving up a few points to close at 28,621.39 for a 0.4% gain.

But is this just a "Good Economy for the 1%," as Democrats grouse?

Nope! Not only is unemployment at 50 year lows -- nearly the lowest in all of human history -- but people are receiving higher wages.

People were able to spend at that pace because incomes allegedly rose 0.5 percent in November, compared to expectations of just a 0.3 percent increase. And the zero gain in incomes in October was revised to an increase of 0.1 percent.

Also good news. On those numbers alone, the president is in good shape.


The results of that survey were also relatively good. Overall, 49 percent of those who were asked said they had received a pay increase of some sort over the past 12 months.

That's up from just 38 percent in 2018. And those were the best results since 2016.

The one possibly negative number the analyst cites there is that 55% of people earning $50,000 per year or more reported a wage increase, while only 43% of lower wage earners did.

Still, that sounds not too bad to me. Only 36% of those making $30,000 or less reported a wage increase, but the analyst suspects this is just an error in the data. He figures that low wage earners should see higher wages due to many states jacking up the minimum wage.

But then, a lot of people might have been laid off and forced to work part-time.

Who knows, maybe self-destructive Democrat economic policies will achieve the only thing Democrats care about, increasing support for self-destructive economic policies.

A more serious risk is that if people keep making higher and higher wages, the Fed will raise interest rates to stave off price inflation, the inevitable side-effect of wage inflation.

Most of this via Instapundit. Instapundit also points out this bright indicator for the future: the oil glut is real, and it's going to stick around for a long time.

Chevron's latest multi-billion dollar asset write down indicates one thing: that oil glut is real and will continue to affect oil prices (NYSEARCA:USO) in 2020. In fact, I won't be surprised if even other oil majors come up with similar write downs in near future. In my earlier article on oil, I had focused on the downward effects of rising global crude oil inventories on oil prices. The market is aware that the current spike in oil price is not related to supply-demand fundamentals, but on expectations that U.S. - China trade war has finally de-escalated.

That analyst notes that OPEC is trying to push up the price of oil by throttling supply -- cutting 500,000 barrels of production -- but he does not expect that to have any long-term impact, as Middle East oil continues to fade in importance thanks to US fracking.

Bonus: The global stock markets increased in value by $17 trillion in 2019.

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posted by Ace at 03:21 PM

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