The stock market has been under pressure for the first time in months. The Eurozone is faltering. China's credit issues never really went away. American airplanes are once more pounding bombs into the Iraqi desert. Russia and Ukraine. Gaza. There's a lot to worry about.
Amid the geopolitical unrest, there one's shining beacon of good news to get optimistic about: After a weather- and inventory-related drag in the first quarter, the American economy is charging ahead in a big way. According to the folks at Cornerstone Macro, the economy is on track to grow at a near 5 percent annualized rate in the current quarter — up from the pitiful 1 percent average for the first half of the year.
The job market is also looking very strong, with higher wages on the horizon. Employer costs, a proxy for wages, it growing at its best rate since 2009. David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, estimates that at its current pace, the labor market could suffer an outright shortage of workers by 2020. And hiring intentions, based on a survey by Manpower, are at six-year highs.
If you survey the data, good news is popping up everywhere.
Consider that the breadth of industries reporting higher employment has moved to the highest level in 14 years — going back to the highs seen when Bill Clinton was in the White House. Or that manufacturing employment is growing at its fastest pace in over 30 years, up 6.2 percent from its low in early 2010.
Housing looks ready to rebound, too, with lumber orders up and banks loosening lending standards on a scale that exceeds even what was seen during the housing bubble according to the July Loan Officer Opinion Survey.