Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Upward Trend

The United States added a healthy 242,000 jobs in February, which is far better than the 172,000 job gain in January.   For 73 consecutive months our country has witnesses private sector job growth.  If you’ve been listening to the Republican presidential debates you would never know it.  I’m quite sure that March 2016 will continue to show private sector job growth.

Unemployment stayed at 4.9 percent, which is the lowest its been since February 2008.  It’s at a level that many economic experts consider to be “full employment.”  Earlier this year, some pessimists were predicting that our economy would fall into recession in 2016.  However, February's gains are the latest sign of good new, because retail sales were solid in January and in February growth appears to be picking up.  Furthermore, job gains in December and January were revised up by a combined 30,000 jobs.

Surprisingly, the participation rate increased in February.  It has been trending upward since September even though it's near historical lows.  The participation rate is a measure of the active portion of an economy's labor force.  The participation rate refers to the number of people who are either employed or are actively looking for work.  The number of people who are no longer actively searching for work would not be included in the participation rate. 

Unfortunately, February’s job news wasn't all good.  Jack Kramer, co-founder of MarketSnacks, a daily financial newsletter warned: “Other parts of the world, from China and India to Europe and Latin America are suffering from slowing growth.  The U.S. economy isn't immune to the headwinds from abroad.   Although, our manufacturing sector is in a 5 month recession, our economy has shown signs of strength early in 2016 amid many red flags from overseas and the negative talk from U.S. presidential contenders.”


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