Market Pulse: Giving thanks
We were inundated with bad news during the divisive and ugly campaign season and watching the 24-hour cable news shows was downright depressing.
For the media it’s always easy to focus on what is wrong, and they rarely cover what is right. On this Thanksgiving my focus is on what is good. There is a lot to talk about.
Hunger in the U.S. fell to the lowest in more than a decade. The number of people facing hunger declined 2.8 percent last year to the lowest since 2007.
Right-wing conspiracy theorists used to dismiss low unemployment readings. Now they embrace them, and they should. Unemployment is low (for some groups lower than ever) and wages and salaries are up 3.1 percent year-over-year (the biggest jump in a decade). It’s hard to put a bad spin on that.
Speaking of employment, U.S. clean energy jobs are surpassing fossil fuel jobs by a 5 to 1 margin. According to the U.S. Energy and Employment Report, more than 1 million Americans are working close to or full-time in clean energy sectors, which is about five times the current employment in the fossil fuel industry.
The U.S. still relies heavily on fossil fuels (about 80 percent) but fossil fuel consumption decreased for the third consecutive year in 2017. Meanwhile, U.S. renewable energy (hydroelectricity, biomass, wind, and solar) consumption in 2017 was the highest since the late 1910s. That’s when overall energy production came from wood.
There’s more. The downside of global growth is usually increased pollution, but more worldwide generating capacity is now being added from clean sources than coal, natural gas, nuclear and oil power plants combined.
Interestingly, Chile wants to be the “solar Saudi Arabia” and last year it was the second largest clean-energy producer, only behind China. That could happen because the price of solar energy panel production has dropped 80 percent since 2008.
I suspect most readers haven’t heard of these trends or many other good news stories. That’s because bad news sells. But the constant barrage of bad news can be overwhelming, especially in this age of 24-hour cable.
My advice: don’t spend long hours watching news for affirmation instead of information. Spend time with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving.
David Vomund is an Incline Village-based fee-only money manager. Information is found at http://www.VomundInvestments.com or by calling 775-832-8555. Clients hold the positions mentioned in this article. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial advisor before purchasing any security.