America’s economy is thriving. Or so the numbers tell us. Here we take a look at some of the figuresthat help us feel optimistic for the future of the US economy.
- In Q1 2019, there was an annual growth of3.2 percent.
- At the start of Q2 2019, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent(lowest it has been in the last five decades).
- Real wagesof the average Joe in the street increased by 3.2 percent(first time in over 10 years).
- Inflationis lower than the 2 percent target at 1.6 percent.
- 5.4m+ new jobshave been added since January 2017.
According toYum Brands CEO Greg Creed:
“Obviously the US economy is in pretty good shape. But I also do think that there is some sort of bifurcation going on in the marketplace. There are certainly people making a lot of money, there are certainly people for whom value will remain incredibly important.”
Although it should also be noted that prices are rising. In the restaurant industry – often in line with the increase in labor costs due to the law on the escalated minimum wage – the large chains are elevating their prices likewise.
More generally, prices are rising in the restaurant industry as labor costs increase with higher minimum wages and a more competitive labor market. McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Chipotle all mentioned raising prices in the most recent quarter during calls with investors. At the same time, the middle class is becoming smaller. The Pew Research Centerfound 50 percent of Americans to be in the middle class; quite a drop from the 61 percent figure of 1971.
There is still of course the quite dramatic gap between top and bottom earners vis-à-vis income increase. In 2017 the bottom fifth of the population witnessed a very minor increase (2.7 percent belowpre-recession figures) in their income whereas the top fifth enjoyed a much higher one (8.7 percent higherthan pre-recession figures).