Good (under-reported) Economic News
Noel Sheppard at Tech Central Station has provided a roundup of good economic news. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the Establishment Survey)
. . . the preliminary data . . . show a gain of 157,000 non-farm workers for the month, bringing the total increase for 2004 to 2.2 million. This is the largest number of jobs created in one year since 1999, even greater than in the year 2000 as the tech stock bubble was hitting its zenith. Unfortunately, this still represents a 175,000 decrease since Mr. Bush took office. . .
An even more positive assessment of job growth . . . is reflected in the Household Survey . . . performed each month by the Census Bureau . . . shows an increase of 2.5 million jobs since Mr. Bush took office, and a 4.5 million rise from the January 2002 recession low. . . [note: read the piece for why the discrepency between the two surveys].
Another highly publicized campaign fallacy was that Americans are making less money today than before Bush was inaugurated. . .when Bush took office, the average weekly pay for production or non-supervisory employees was $485. In December, it was $536 — a 10.52% gain. This increase in wages — also contrary to politically oriented assertions — is greater than the 9.77% rise in inflation during this four-year period as measured by the Consumer Price Index (through November 2004). . .
during the Bush “depression,” [consumer net worth] rose to a new all-time high of $45 trillion by the end of 2003 — yes, even greater than at the stock bubble peak in March 2000. Without the final data for 2004, it is safe to assume that this net worth is significantly higher today given last year’s 9% increase in stocks (S&P 500), and a likely similar gain in residential real estate values. . .
When Bush took office, 66.2% of Americans owned their own homes. By the end of 2003, this number had jumped to 68.6%, and will certainly be higher when 2004’s final numbers are in. This is a 2.4% increase in Bush’s first three years in office. To put this in perspective, such ownership only rose by 0.8% during the “boom” of President Clinton’s second term. In fact, this percentage only increased by 1.8% during Clinton’s two terms. . .
under President Bush, the GDP has increased every year from 2000’s $9.7 trillion. Even in the midst of the recession of 2001, our GDP still rose to $10 trillion. In fact, if we hit analysts’ estimates, 2004’s number will be $11.5 trillion — a full 18% higher than when Mr. Bush to office.