When One Door Closes Another Opens

Grind for November 7th, 2018
“Freedom is not of use to those who do not know how to employ it.”
– Sylvia Plath

Good News

The Headline

US economy adds 250,000 jobs in October

The Grind

Official data from the Department of Labor shows the US economy added a better-than-expected 250,000 jobs during the month of October.

Most new jobs came from construction, healthcare, and manufacturing.

The overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, while the rate for Hispanics dropped to an all-time-low of 4.4%.

The Details

The report is good news for the Trump Administration as Republicans attempt to maintain control of the House and Senate next week.

“Wow!” Tweeted Trump on Friday. “The US added 250,000 jobs in October – and this was despite the hurricanes…These are incredible numbers. Keep it going. Vote Republican!”

Also in October:

— Labor force participation for workers between the ages of 25 and 54 hit 82.3% (the highest level since May 2010)

— Wages increased 3.1% compared to last year (the largest annual gain since 2009)

— October was the 100th straight month of hiring increases

— Consumer confidence reached an 18-year high

— The unemployment rate is a “huge milestone,” says Bank of the West economist Scott Anderson. “We’ve finally gotten unemployment low enough that we’re actually getting some traction on wages and salaries. And it looks like we’re pulling more people into the labor force as wages rise.”

The strong labor market will also keep the Federal Reserve on track to continue lifting its benchmark interest rate, with the next hike expected in December.

Meanwhile, economic growth for Q2 (4.2%) and Q3 (3.5%) combined represents the strongest six-month period of growth in four years. And despite increased factory costs resulting from the trade dispute with China, manufacturing output remains healthy.

End Of An Era

The Headline

It’s finally time to say goodbye to Angela Merkel

The Grind

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week announced that she would be stepping down as the leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and would not be seeking a fifth term in 2021.

Her decision follows a poor performance by the CDU in the regional elections in the German state of Hesse on October 28th.

“The chancellor’s announcement is being seen as a dignified attempt to stage-manage her own exit,” writes The Economist.

The Details

Merkel will go down in history as a kindhearted leader whose open border policies allowed more than 1 million refugees into the country.

She will also be blamed for an increase in crime and terror attacks.

Merkel’s immigration policies also contributed to the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany Party, which in September 2017 won representation in Parliament for the first time.

Her party has been losing support ever since.

“[Merkel is] aware that the slaughter of her party losing so much support has never happened before,” says political analyst Olaf Boehnke. “Nobody wants to risk new elections right now.”

It is long past time for Merkel to step down. Not only is support for the CDU diminishing, but Germany needs a fresh start.

At the same time, Merkel must be sick of the constant complaints over her immigration policies, and how they forever changed the landscape of Germany.

Let’s hope the country can find a bold leader to guide them through this necessary transition.

Did you know… In Ukraine, there’s a thousand-foot-deep salt mine that is used to treat respiratory ailments. Inside, there are substantially fewer bacteria in the air than in the most sterile room in a hospital.