Filed Under:  U.S. & World

The American Economy Ends 2014 On an Up-Note

Contributed by on December 31, 2014 at 9:30 am

US Economy GrowingAs 2014 comes to a close, economic analysts are giving Americans reasons to celebrate. Job growth has hit its highest level since 1999. Unemployment is a full one percent lower than it was a year ago and is the lowest it has been since 2008.

 

Lower gas prices have contributed to the power of job growth and falling unemployment to create consumer confidence, which translated into increased consumer spending. Further, individual debt as a percentage of income has shrunk to level not seen since 2002.

 

These factors have caused Americans’ confidence in the economy to rise 7 points, to +2, making this the first time since before October 2008 that the number has been in the black.

 

However, many Americans who would prefer full-time work are still only able to find part-time positions and incredible corporate profits have not trickled down to increase the earnings of low-wage workers, meaning that the wealth gap between the richest Americans and middle- and low-income American has become the largest economic gap the United States has experienced since late 1990s

 

But economic analysts remain hopeful that wages will rise in 2015. This rise will no doubt be supported by the increased minimum wage in the 20 states and Washington, D.C., where legislators passed higher minimum wage laws. Additionally, economists predict that employers will add more jobs in 2015 than they have in any year since 1999. More jobs will prompt wage growth and, ultimately, drive inflation to a healthier level.

 

Meanwhile, overseas markets do not appear as healthy as the American economy: Japan has entered a recession; analysts believe Russian will soon be in recession as well; and Europe is almost stagnant. These global forces could ultimately hold back further American gains. Conversely, American gains could help overseas markets get back on track.