Americans are feeling better about their own finances, but polls suggest they suspect something isn’t quite right with this economy. The official unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, but there’s a larger reality underlying misgivings about the near future.
It’s been nearly 11 years since the Great Recession ended, or so we’re told by the majority of economists. Gallup polling shows record-high optimism among Americans regarding their personal finances, and a new jobs report shows 225,000 jobs added in January, hammering the official unemployment rate down to 3.6 percent.
Deep down, however, Americans must be questioning just how real this recovery is.
Some surely believe that President Donald Trump has achieved the impossible and that the next Great Recession will be avoided as long as he and the Republicans maximize their control over Washington, D.C., come Election Day.
However, a recent CBS poll shows that 56 percent of Americans feel the state of the country is only fair or worse. Other recent polling shows a growing number of Americans aren’t proud of their country and have little trust in its institutions. These figures may not seem to indicate suspicion of the economy at first glance, but wait, there’s more.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has confirmed that it erroneously reported inflated 2018 jobs figures, over-reporting 30,000 jobs each month on average. Instead of 2.7 million jobs gained that year, there were 2.3 million.
Jobs reporting in 2019 wasn’t great either, with February 2019’s initial reporting of 56,000 being revised to a paltry 1,000. It makes one wonder if they should count a third time.
Popular approval for Trump’s economic policy is high, a sign that the hysterical anti-Trump voices aren’t persuasive. And much like Newton’s Third Law of Physics, there is an equal and opposite reaction in politics, so Republicans are usually over-praising Trump.
But as economist and stockbroker Peter Schiff points out, Trump’s best jobs year “is lower than Obama’s worst!”
“The average annual job creation during the last 3 years of Obama’s administration was 2.69 million. Job creation during the first 3 years of Trump’s averaged 2.17 million. Job creation is 19.5% lower under Trump than Obama,” Schiff tweeted in response to the recent jobs report.
Manufacturing lost 12,000 jobs in January 2020, with over 90 percent of those losses coming from the auto industry, according to Industry Week.
Manufacturing’s production and non-supervisory jobs “are up just 1% in the past year, far short of the rise in the cost of living,” reports Market Watch.
Now, it can’t be denied that corporate tax cuts and deregulation have succeeded in speeding up the so-called recovery that started and sputtered under President Barack Obama. But federal spending and deficits are exploding, which of course the Federal Reserve is enabling.
Learning the root cause of the Great Recession as explained by Austrian economics would surely help Americans defend themselves against the inundation of economic propaganda in the mainstream press.
However, it might be just as helpful in the short term to encourage them to act on their sinking feeling that this economy actually is quite fragile, especially when the social fabric is as tenuous as it is.