Sunrise doesn’t last all morning A cloudburst doesn’t last all day Seems my love has up and left you with no warning It’s not always gonna be this gray
—George Harrison, “All Things Must Pass” (1970)
No one is saying that the economy is in full recovery. But, like all things, economic downturns, recessions and even depressions pass. The economy is cyclical and, as has been said on more than one occasion: The cure for high prices is high prices, and the cure for low prices is low prices.
You don’t have to call it Bidenomics, or any other politically motivated economic belief. Just look at the facts. The U.S. is in an economic upturn.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in America is 3.6 percent. Economists say that is “full employment,” because when the unemployment rate gets that low, it’s because of frictional unemployment: people leaving to take other jobs, or maybe going back to school. In Arkansas, the unemployment rate is even better at 2.7 percent. Some 97 percent of our folks who want jobs have jobs. We as a state can’t do much better.
(For those saying the books are cooked for political reasons, keep in mind that both Democrat and Republican governors use these statistics to tout their job creation prowess and the success of their worldview on the economy.) According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in Arkansas today is $3.16. A year ago today, it was $4.09.
According to the Associated Press, on Tuesday “The S&P 500” hit its “highest finish since early April 2022.” The Dow “rallied” and the “Nasdaq composite climbed.” A headline in the paper’s Business Section reads: “Spending up as inflation eases” and the article tells us that “Americans increased their spending last month” while the “job market remained remarkably strong.” And, just for good measure, Amazon reports that their greenhouse emissions are the lowest they’ve been since they began tracking their numbers in 2019.
Speaking of all things global, most of the G7 countries would likely trade places with the U.S. economically, if given the chance.
According to the international, hence the misspelled, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. has the lowest food inflation rate among G7 countries at 5.65 percent. Japan is second
(8.96) followed by Canada
(9.02), Italy (11.89), Germany (14.47), France (14.95), and finally, the United Kingdom’s food inflation rate is a whopping 18.4 percent.
The only country in the G7 doing better in the area of energy inflation is Canada. Our neighbors to the north are experiencing a negative 12.43 percent rate, edging out the U.S. rate of -11.66, followed by Japan (-8.23). France still has inflation in the plus column at 2.16 percent, followed by Germany (3.72), UK (8.1) and Italy (11.9).
With these numbers to put things in perspective, it might be time for a little optimism when it comes to how we view the present and the future of our country. The U.S. is not through recovering from the covid years, but it’s hard to look at our situation and believe that things don’t look like they’re picking up. What a country.