Americans are keeping tabs on the US economy – which covers everything from the current job market and wage growth to how those stocks and bonds your aunt once gave you are doing.
So, how’s it looking?
Pretty, pretty, pretty good. We know this by looking at the GDP, or the value of all the goods and services produced in the country. The economy is expected to grow in the 2% to 3% range. Also, the US central bank has bumped up interest rates three times this year. That’s because interest rates dropped to basically zero during the '08 financial crisis to make it easier for people to borrow money and help give the economy that little boost it needed. But since the economy's been on the up and up for the last few years, the Fed's been slowly creeping those rates back up. Expect to see one more hike this year. Partayyyy.
What about jobs?
In October, the US added 157,000 jobs, exceeding Wall Street expectations. Health care added 36,000 jobs while manufacturing added 32,000. And unemployment stayed at the lowest in decades. Meanwhile, research shows that Americans are very happy about their current job situations (think: the happiest in 10 years). But wages aren't doing so hot – which isn't great for working and middle class Americans.
What’s the right say?
We want to continue boosting employment and creating job growth. When big companies succeed, it will encourage economic growth for everyone. And that’s what the new tax law is about. By slashing corporate taxes, companies are handing over some of that cash money too. Trump is also patting himself on the back for how well the economy is doing right now.
What’s the left say?
We want to continue boosting employment and creating job growth. But should focus on programs like Social Security and Medicare. We should protect low and middle income families so that everybody is rising with the economy – which will help us take steps towards closing the wealth gap.
What can my elected reps do?
Lawmakers at the state and national level all have different ways of trying to help drive economic growth
— City councils can do things like increasing resources for summer youth employment programs for kids and teens to get work experience before getting into the workforce
— Governors can come up with infrastructure plans that would need a lot of people to chip in aka creating jobs
There are a lot of issues out there. But, at the end of the day, your financial situation has a big impact on your life. Any changes to that (and the country’s) are a big motivating factor to get to the polls.