Positive Economic Signs From Supermarket To Cinema

Sometimes it can be really easy to get bogged down with economic reports and ratios when trying to get a feel for the economy. There’s monthly government reports on Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment figures and Fed commentary and actions on interest rates. There’s manufacturing and construction industry reporting, commodity prices and don’t forget the stock market. You could spend days buried in numbers – and by the time you thought you knew what was happening, your data might already be obsolete.

But there are a couple recent figures that may show an improvement in the economy, especially as it relates to the lower and middle classes.

The first relates to food stamps. From 2007 to 2013, the number of Americans receiving assistance from food stamps increased every year from 26.3 million to 47.6 million. Since 2013, we have seen a slow decline every year, to the current level at 41.5 million.

A decrease in the number of Americans on food stamps would indicate that people in lower income levels are beginning to benefit from a stronger economy. Much of this is likely due to the strong jobs market that is boosting wages, even among traditionally minimum wage positions. Companies competing for workers are forced to offer higher wages, which in turn increases income in lower income households.

Similarly, a middle class that feels comfortable with their economic condition will spend a bit more on entertainment. Since 2013, American households have increased their spending on entertainment by almost $500 per year and have passed pre-recession spending figures for the category. Much of this increase is the result of spending by households earning between $30,000 and $80,000 per year.

It’s good to find credible evidence that the recovery is benefitting not only the wealthy, but lower and middle income classes as well.




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