–Steve’s Marketplace —
Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
We have a lot of thanks to give this year at Thanksgiving time. Let us enumerate the splendid ways.
Our economy, here and around the country, is as hot as the South Florida sun in July. Jobs are plentiful, wages are rising, and interest rates and inflation remain subdued. The unemployment rate borders on all-time lows; it is just above 3 percent in Nassau County.
The stock market eclipses new highs with regularity, pointing toward continued prosperity. The real estate market is healthy. Tourism is off the charts. And our local businesses are thriving.
Things are good. Let’s be extra thankful, because not everywhere in the world is enjoying what we have. In fact, we are an exception, as Europe struggles to avoid a recession, China has suffered its worst year in some time, and much of South America is mired in economic strife.
The U.S. economy is the largest and strongest in the world. And our ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit and unbridled capitalism has much to do with it. A report titled “Giving Thanks” by First Trust economist Brian Wesbury provides an interesting perspective.
Wesbury is known for his optimistic way of surveying the financial markets. He starts out his Nov. 25, 2019 report with the statement:
“What an incredible time to be alive!”
Wesbury cites that prosperity has “spread far and wide” over the past decade. This realization is often clouded by negativism from “pouting pundits and rancorous politics.”
“But if we simply step back from the day to day noise and take in the magnitude of progress around us, there is a great deal to be thankful for,” Wesbury writes.
He cites technological innovations that have made our lives easier. Like ordering a car on our cell phones, and watching it come to you in real time. Apps tell us how to optimize our travels, how many steps we take, how many calories we consume.
Advanced technology has become common in our cars, like backup cameras and blind-spot warnings and adaptive cruise control. Healthcare advancements are mind-boggling. You have 3D printing of body parts – skin cells, lungs and soon partial livers. And we are on the brink of using gene therapy to treat cancer.
And how about the improvements in energy production? Oil prices have fallen from $78 a decade ago to below $58 today. Again, improvements with horizontal drilling and fracking has led to lower oil and gas prices.
“As a result, Americans can heat and cool their homes and businesses and travel for much less than they used to,” Wesbury writes.
“Put it all together and if we’re honest, we have so much to be thankful for,” he says. “There has quite simply never, in the history of mankind, been a better time to be alive.”
Steve Nicklas is a financial advisor for a U.S. brokerage firm who lives and works on Amelia Island. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns appear regularly in several newspapers in North Florida and South Georgia, and on his website. He has also published a book, “All About Money,” consisting of some of his favorite columns over the past 20 years. The book is available at local stores and on Amazon. He can be reached at 904-753-0236 or at [email protected].)