The November jobs report strengthens our conviction that the US economy continues to grow at a slow but steady pace. The US added 266,000 non-farm jobs in November, exceeding a consensus expectation of a 180,000 jobs gain. Sectors across the economy, including the manufacturing sector, added jobs. The unemployment rate is now 3.5%, and average hourly earnings have increased 3.1%, year over year. People who feel secure in their employment will spend more. Strong consumer spending and low unemployment signal that the economy remains on solid footing.
The excellent November jobs report makes it less likely that the Fed will lower rates again soon, setting up more confrontation with the current administration which wants rates as low as possible. (CNBC)
- Where Are the Jobs? Not all US geographical regions and economic sectors are benefiting equally from the growth in jobs. So called innovation jobs are highly focused in a few coastal areas. Boston is one growth area. (New York Times)
- New US Trade Deal with Canada and Mexico? The White House and House Democratic leadership have reached an agreement on a new trade deal with our southern and northern neighbors. This is a major positive, and we are heartened by the bi-partisan agreement. We are also reading that the Senate Republicans believe that the proposed new agreement is too favorable to labor. (Washington Post)
- Fed Financial Stability Report: Growing out of the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has been issuing a bi-annual report on the state of the financial industry. This report is not exactly light reading but is important and deserves more attention. We get some perceptive questions, as well as expressed concerns, from clients regarding systemic financial risks. This report is the closest source of objective data and insights that we have. (Federal Reserve)
- Live Longer: This is a terrific on-line collection of articles about longevity and how we can extend the quality of our lives. (CNN Live Longer) The Blue Zones, areas of the world where there is exceptional longevity, including more centenarians, have always held much fascination for me. Contrary to conventional wisdom, formal exercise is not part of these cultures. They eat more carbs (healthier carbs to be sure), often consume wine, and spend a great deal of time with family and friends. (Blue Zones)
- Walking is a Superpower: On my drive home, I have been listening to a compelling podcast about walking. On the podcast, Dr. Rangan Chatterjee, a popular British doctor, interviews Shane O’Mara, a neuroscientist and the author of In Praise of Walking: The New Science of How We Walk and Why It’s Good for Us. We have evolved to move, and our body responds in myriad and surprising ways to walking. It is not a coincidence that many extraordinarily productive people walk extensively and find this activity to be a source of great creativity. If you have any interest in walking, whatsoever, this podcast/book may get you moving. (drchatterjee.com) (shaneomara.com)
- Alarming US Health Trends: Our country faces serious collective health issues. I tend to focus on potential longevity and quality of life breakthroughs in these notes. This is an area of personal interest, but moreover these breakthroughs also have massive potential planning implications. But the fact is that mortality in the US has decreased the past three years, with Maine and New Hampshire being among the states experiencing the worst declines. New Hampshire is the state with the biggest percentage rise in death rates among working-age people in this decade per the linked article. (Washington Post)
- Holiday Gift Ideas: Feeling a little anxious about your holiday to-do list? Shopping is not a core strength of mine, but I sometimes find articles suggesting gifts to be helpful. Let somebody else do the research. One source I have used already this year for gifts for grandchildren has been the Washington Post Holiday Gift Guide, and I am still combing through it for ideas for additional gifts. (Washington Post)
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