Markets & Economy

Let’s hope the new predicaments afflicting both parties will now force them to do useful things

Politicians will have to woo disgruntled voters by actually getting things done

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

In this weird economic-political time a few things are moving toward clarity. Remember that awful government shutdown doing so much harm to the economy? Forget that. October payrolls jumped 204,000, plus another 60,000 revised up in September. The economic world flowed on around a furloughed government like a stream around an old, abandoned tire. Did the shutdown conceal the long-awaited economic acceleration? No. Uh-uh. Half of these new jobs are in retail and hospitality. Entry-level jobs with zero upside and security. Wages in October grew again by 0.1 percent -- half the rate of inflation. The interest rate reaction to the job surge has been modest, as it should be, the 10-year T-note rising from 2.6 percent to 2.75 percent in the blink of an eye and mortgages pressing 4.5 percent. No big deal until the economy really changes. For now, it's still a mystery. Third-quarter GDP eye-popped to 2.8 percent annual growth, but one-third of that was accumulation of unsold inv...