Relative Prosperity

unemploymentYou might have read that the U.S. investment markets are jittery on the news that Japan has experienced two consecutive quarters of economic decline—the official definition of a recession. But if you turn the news around, it offers us a reminder that, however much we complain about slow-growth recovery from 2008, Americans are actually part of one of the most robust economies in the world.

The statistics tell an interesting story. The U.S. economy is growing at a rate of about 2.95% for the year, which is (as the complainers correctly point out) slightly below its long-term pace. But this doesn’t look so bad compared to the 2.16% average growth average for the G7 nations in aggregate, and our growth numbers are well ahead of the European Union, whose economies are expanding at an anemic 1.28% rate this year.

Look deeper and our story looks even better. The current recession is Japan’s fourth in six years, despite long-term stimulus efforts that make the Fed’s QE program look like a purchase at the candy store. Europe is rumored to be teetering on the edge of recession, which would be its second since the 2008 meltdown. The published GDP figures coming out of China (which are very unreliable due to heavy government editing) could drop to about half the long-term rate this year, and Brazil entered recession territory last Summer.

But what about the 5.8% unemployment rate? That’s better than the 10% rate at the end of 2008, but it’s not good—right? Compared with the rest of the world, America’s jobs picture looks downright rosy. The list, below, shows that only 13 countries have lower jobless rates than the American economy, and some of those (Malaysia, Russia, Saudi Arabia) may be giving out numbers that their leaders want to hear. Yes, it would be nice if the long, sustained GDP growth we’ve enjoyed these last six years were faster, and we all hope that the unemployment rate continues dropping. But compared with just about everywhere else, life in the U.S.—on the economic front, at least—is pretty good

Global unemployment rates

Malaysia (2.7%)
Switzerland (3.1%)
South Korea (3.5%)
Japan (3.6%)
Norway (3.7%)
Taiwan (3.9%)
Denmark (4.0%)
Brazil (4.9%)
Russia (4.9%)
Germany (5.0%)
Mexico (5.1%)
India (5.2%)
Saudi Arabia (5.5%)
UNITED STATES (5.8%)
Indonesia (5.9%)
Pakistan (6.0%)
United Kingdom (6.0%)
Australia (6.2%)
Israel (6.5%)
Canada (6.5%)
Chile (6.6%)
Philippines (6.7%)
Venezuela (7.0%)
Czech Republic (7.1%)
Argentina (7.5%)
Sweden (7.5%)
Netherlands (8.0%)
Austria (8.1%)
Colombia (8.4%)
Finland (8.5%)
Belgium (8.5%)
Iran (9.5%)
Turkey (10.1%)
France (10.2%)
Ireland (11.0%)
Poland (11.3%)
Egypt (12.3%)
Italy (12.6%)
Portugal (13.1%)
Iraq (15.1%)
Spain (23.7%)
Nigeria (23.9%)
South Africa (25.4%)
Greece (25.9%)

Sources:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/japan-recession-europe-stagnation-cast-pall-over-global-economic-outlook/2014/11/17/5cd81612-6e8f-11e4-ad12-3734c461eab6_story.html

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/japans-economy-tips-back-into-recession-in-another-blow-for-abe/2014/11/16/9a8f2e94-8c9c-44cf-a5e8-b57a470fd61f_story.html

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/japans-abe-says-tpp-trade-talks-with-us-are-near-the-final-stage/2014/11/07/24ba0b42-63a8-11e4-ab86-46000e1d0035_story.html

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/british-prime-minister-david-cameron-says-red-warning-lights-flashing-on-global-economy/2014/11/17/acc29d06-c38f-49a1-b478-30d334fd3389_story.html

 

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/country-list/unemployment-rate

 

http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/year/2014/

 

http://vicshowplanet.blogspot.com/2014/08/brazils-economy-falls-into-recession.html

 

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/ebrd-says-russia-certain-fall-economic-recession-122646029–business.html#PklpsIB

 

http://online.wsj.com/articles/chinas-slowdown-raises-pressure-on-beijing-to-spur-growth-1413893980

 

About Objectively Speaking

Tom Batterman, founder of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy and Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is in the business of representing the best financial interests of his clients. Having provided objective, fee-only financial management services for over two decades, he specializes in managing the investment and related financial affairs of individuals and mutual insurance companies who do not have the time, interest or expertise to manage such matters on their own. As an objective, unbiased professional who takes on a fiduciary responsibility to his clients, he guides clients to the financial decisions they would make themselves if they had years of training and experience and the time and expertise to fully research and understand all of their options. Founded in 2010 as an outgrowth of Vigil Trust & Financial Advocacy, Financial Fiduciaries, LLC is a financial management solution for individuals and mutual insurance companies who recognize they do not have the time, interest or expertise to properly attend to their financial matters on their own. While there are many financial “advisors”, most of them have investment products to sell and the “advice” they provide is geared toward getting their clients to engage in a purchase. As one of the rare subset of advisors known as “fiduciary advisors”, Financial Fiduciaries does not sell any investment product so its guidance is not compromised by conflicts of interest which plague ordinary advisors. Prior to his employment in the financial industry in financial advocacy and trust positions, he worked at a private law practice in the Wausau area in the areas of estate planning, tax, retirement planning, corporate organizations and real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the UW-Madison Law School and has during his career held Series 7, 24 and 65 securities licenses. A longtime resident of the Wausau, Wisconsin Area, Tom is active in the community. He enjoys golf, curling, skiing, fishing, traveling and spending time with his family.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s