Economic Indicators

Last week Biden announced $4.9 billion of student debt cancellation for 74,000 borrowers. Nearly 30,000 of these borrowers had been in repayment for at least 20 years but never got the relief they should have.

44,000 had earned debt forgiveness after 10 years of public service as teachers, nurses, and firefighters.

The total number of borrowers whose debt has been canceled is 3.7 million Americans.

Meanwhile, the stock market hit new record highs. The unemployment rate has been under 4% for more than two years, and wages have risen higher than inflation in that same period.

Investors see the rate of inflation coming down in the U.S. and consumers are feeling better about the economy. The S&P 500, which measures the value of 500 of the largest companies in the country, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which does the same for 30 companies considered to be industry leaders, both rose to all-time highs.

Goldman Sachs Economics Research reported that consumer spending is strong and predicted that “job gains, positive real wage growth, will lead to around 3% real disposable income growth” and that “household balance sheets have strengthened.” It also noted that “[t]he US has led the way on disinflation,” and it predicted further drops in 2024.

Production is up as well, to 4.9% in the third quarter of 2023 (the U.S. growth rate under Trump even before the pandemic was a mere 2.5%).