by Walt Jacobson
This month’s U.S. jobs report showed signs of unexpected strength just months after pundits seemed to have reached a consensus that a recession was all but inevitable. The economy created 266,000 when the forecasts expected 187,000, and unemployment inched down to 3.5%.
With unemployment already so low, it naturally becomes harder to add jobs on a per month basis above population growth simply because everyone who wants a job can find one. Countering that – this economy is so strong that our labor force participation rate is finally increasing again after nosediving under the Obama administration.
At 3.5% (as of November), it’s often reported that unemployment is at the lowest level since the end of WWII. While it is true that the economy was below 2% from 1943-1945, that’s a historic anomaly caused by a nation at war. The last time the unemployment rate was below 3.5% was in 1929.
Black unemployment now stands at 5.5%, and was 5.4% in October, the lowest point ever recorded.Advertisement
Hispanic unemployment is at 4.2%, and his its lowest point on record in September when it was 3.9%.
Everyone Who Wants a Job Can Find One
There are now more job openings than there are people looking for work.
While the data only exists up until 2018 for the following statistic; in that year only 7.8% of people who looked for work experienced unemployment. Presumably those figures decreased more in 2019 as the economy continued its expansion. To note, the reason there are more job openings than people, but some people looking for work are still experiencing unemployment is because not everyone is qualified for the array of jobs open.
401(k)s have been made great again, and in November we officially set the record for the best bull market ever. As CNBC explained: “The current market boom, which started March 9, 2009, has enjoyed a whopping 468% gain for the S&P 500 through the first day of November, making this record-long bull run also the best-performing one since World War II.”
The average credit score increased to an all-time-high of 706 in 2019, signaling that the American public is not struggling to keep up with debt payments (as you’d expect at an economy at full employment). Household debt payments as a percentage of disposable income are at the lowest level since the St. Louis Federal Reserve began keeping statistics in 1980.
More Records to Come
While these economic records have been set by Trump, in the case of all of them, this isn’t the first time that Trump has set them. The stock market has hit all time highs over one hundred times since Trump took office, as you’d expect in an increasing market. The same goes for unemployment. Trump has brought unemployment down to among the lowest levels recorded before, setting records, and then brought them even lower than that.
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