No one enjoys parsing out the mysteries of arcane economic jargon and numbers, primarily because for the past several, shall we say, six years the news yielded hasn’t been all too bright. After sifting through all those press releases, we still find that unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has been above 8 percent since 2009.
Needless to say, the realm of money and fiscal responsibility has been one begrudgingly travelled for far too long. And truly, believe it or not, there is reason to devote less time to this perennial anxiety.
Credit: freedigitalphotos.net Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee
In case you hadn’t noticed, those dejected discussions have been in decline for a while. People are now quite conditioned to these difficulties and have simply chosen to go about their day paying only what little attention they must toward the still recuperating 2008 bruise.
As of July, however, that aching has subsided to surprisingly tolerable levels and the world today seems to suggest that we’ve weathered the worst of it.
Look up from the screen and take a look around. The bold colors of crisp shopping bags seen here, then there, then over beside and just next to, blare their brands in the now more populous commercial cavalcade yammered amongst the crowds. Mouths crimp up into smiles rather than bark into their phones as the midday worker strolls by. Oddly, the city’s trash now litters more of the occupied space. That trash, which comprises mainly of more recites tossed and sandwich wrappers strewn about the concrete, mean that more people are buying—and discarding—more things. There is, simply, more—including what to hope for when the topic of money is introduced.
Dispose of That All-Too-Familiar Frown: Unemployment is Down
Pshaw, the reply; why on earth should my wallet be a happy subject these days? Well, for starters, only 7.8 percent of the labor force was unemployed as of December last year, the second lowest it’s been since the housing bubble burst, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of June, USA Today reported that 195,000 jobs were added to the economy—great news already, even better when compounded with a further 2 percent reduction of unemployment to 7.6 percent. Not only are more people working, more people are finding new work, the evidence of which is really beginning to crop up.
In a July 11 article, a Reuter’s analysis of a further hodgepodge of numbers and statistics “reflects healthy consumer spending.” So some part of the multifaceted term “economy” is “healthy.” But how can we understand different rates of spending as “healthy”? Did the thought ever come to pass that being able to spend even some money with little to zero anxiety or worry might be a better consideration of the adjective “healthy”?
Interestingly enough, it is a common affectation of metaphorical comparison to cast the “body” politic and civic of a given country, in our case the United States, as just that, a functioning, personified human body, complete with limbs and organs and mobility.
It would seem, then, that our national dialogue of financial information has widened from piecemeal analysis of specified worries to an appraisal of the promising events happening throughout the system. Instead of going to the doctor and hearing, “Your ear is infected,” we are increasingly being told that, “Yes, everything seems to be OK.” No one wants to be reminded that the whole body suffers when only one area of it is pained, but everybody likes hearing that, despite some errancies, the full system is chugging along fine.
It is a simple matter of perspective; the idea is the country as a whole operates within some larger context as a unified entity, like a person navigates a grocery store, or, as the news seems to indicate, perhaps as an up-scale department store. Or that chic boutique down Main Street you’ve been meaning to pop into—but not really, it’s just too pricy. Or is it?
Why Manufacturing May Be Returning to the US, and in Greater Numbers
According to a CNBC article in April, which cites a recent study done by consulting firm AlixPartners, “The rising value of the RMB, [which is China’s currency], was expected and has made it more costly to ship goods built in China around the world.” This means that there should be a drop-off of imported common to low-end goods from China in these next few years, meaning that more domestic productions can seize these manufacturing opportunities and markets.
Considering such possibilities may mean that more and more of the items found in the various little shops, outlets, and kiosks that populate our commercial arena will bear the Federal Trade Commission’s approval of “Made in USA.” More American manufacturing means more money stays within the country, hopefully boosting the quality of life for workers and other people in the socioeconomic brackets that would most immediately benefit from such work. Rana Foroohar and Bill Saporito carry a cautiously optimistic perspective in their recent piece in Time Magazine, “Is the U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance Real?”
“The once separate steps of designing a product, making or buying the parts, and then putting everything together are beginning to blend,” the article stated. “It means that manufacturing wants to be closer to engineering and design—a dynamic that would likely benefit the United States.”
Such a forecast was not dared for years, seeing as there were no reasons to look into the future with such promising insights. Now that this discussion is even happening is reason enough to believe that there are good things ahead as opposed to merely more days, weeks, hours, and grocery runs to get through during rough times.
Thus, with new domestic jobs and more labor on the rise, which may soon be fitted to a more cost-effective and efficient manufacturing infrastructure, there seems reason to not only appreciate the new economic climate currently taking hold but to also look feasibly at the prospects that serve to align our expectations. There is reason to hope—which is all-too-often the one daily pick-up people need most.
Daily Life, Reinvigorated
In coming off rough times, people frequently fail to see when circumstances do in fact cross a notable threshold of progress. From today’s perspective, it’s hard not to see that there are justifiable grounds for the belief that we needn’t focus so anxiously on talk of money as much—that level of attention simply isn’t needed anymore for the time being. Just look toward the bickering ground of politics for a good litmus test of the voter’s “consumer sentiment.” Domestic financial issues no longer galvanize most discussion.
So put up your feet and relish the fact that free time can now be spent on—if but only a few—entertaining and indulgent pursuits that spice up the day, because spicing up the day is now an option. Things aren’t too bad, for now, and probably won’t be again for some time, so fret a little less and remember to smile a little more.
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