What eight social trends told us about America’s economy in 2018

Adult dorms and jade rollers may prove to be fads, but they say something about growth, labour markets and demographics. Below, we examine the wonky underbelly of recent cultural phenomena.

1. Sidewalk scooters

Just when everyone thought that scooters, the hippest toy circa 2000, had gone the way of frosted tips and popcorn shirts, they staged a comeback among collar-and-tie urbanites. Electric two-wheelers are a thing from Washington to Los Angeles. It’s a sign that as the American population shifts away from small metros toward cities and their immediate suburbs, it’s prompting people to look for new, inexpensive and efficient means of getting around.

2. The headquarters showdown

Speaking of urban concentration, Amazon looked far and wide for a second headquarters – drawing bids from Anchorage in Alaska to Scarborough in Maine – before announcing that it will split the location between New York City and the Washington area.

MoneyWeb.co.za

Strong U.S. Economy to Boost Wall Street in 2019

Global markets began 2019 with more selling, following disappointing manufacturing numbers out of China and signs of a new global oil glut sending energy stocks lower. Every major overseas index has either closed in the red or appears ready to do so. U.S. indexes, in turn, are also in the red for today’s pre-market.

The challenges we’ve seen over the past couple weeks haven’t changed just because we cracked open fresh new calendars. We don’t even get new economic data before the bell until tomorrow, when we see new Initial Jobless Claims and ADP (ADPFree Report)  private sector payroll figures for last week and the month of December, respectively. Until then, stay strapped in — looks like a bumpy ride to kick off the new year.

Zacks.com

Why lower gas prices are both good and bad for the US economy

Cheap gas provides a powerful boost to drivers filling up their tanks, but the 2014-2016 oil crash showed that plunging energy prices can have negative consequences for the modern American economy.

Hundreds of thousands of oil workers lost their jobs several years ago as crude crashed to $26 a barrel. Dozens of energy companies went bankrupt. Business spending plummeted. And energy stocks tumbled, contributing to mayhem on Wall Street.
CNN

AI Will Create Millions More Jobs Than It Will Destroy. Here’s How

In the past few years, artificial intelligence has advanced so quickly that it now seems hardly a month goes by without a newsworthy AI breakthrough. In areas as wide-ranging as speech translation, medical diagnosis, and gameplay, we have seen computers outperform humans in startling ways.

This has sparked a discussion about how AI will impact employment. Some fear that as AI improves, it will supplant workers, creating an ever-growing pool of unemployable humans who cannot compete economically with machines.

SingularityHub.com

Why this year suddenly fell apart on Wall Street, and what’s ahead

Everything was going right for the stock market until Oct. 3rd. Then everything went wrong.

Up to that point, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had been up about 8 percent for the year — a solid gain if not quite as gaudy as the year before.

More importantly, the fundamental backdrop was solid: The economy was growing at a better than 3 percent clip, corporate profits were around their highest levels in eight years and the Federal Reserve seemed in control of monetary policy and interest rates.

CNBC

Economy’s strengths in 2019: Strong job market, consumer spending and low inflation

The stock market’s recent sell-off has stirred fears of a recession next year.

But a post-Christmas rally that has lifted stocks this week is likely rooted in this reality: Some key engines, such as a healthy labor market, will continue to drive the economy forward in 2019.

While growth is expected to ease from a projected 3 percent or so in 2018 — which would be a 13 year high – to about 2.5 percent in 2019, that would still be a solid performance and top the 2.2 percent average during the nine-year-old economic expansion.

Here’s a rundown of the economy’s strengths heading into 2019:

USA Today

The Biggest Problem For The Global Economy In 2019 Won’t Be The US-China Trade War

The biggest problem for the global economy in 2019 won’t be the trade war between America and China. It will be massive business failures. Perhaps bank failures, too.

The US-China trade war was the big problem in 2018, raising fears of de-globalization and the descent of the global economy into a collection of highly protected national markets.

But financial markets and global corporations will bring the two parties on the negotiation table in 2019, the way they did with NAFTA a few months ago.

Forbes

Maintaining Education For All Gets Tougher As Teachers Leave In Record Numbers

Of late I’ve been speaking with experts about jobs and the difficulty of finding people with the proper skills. Education was clearly on their minds. You have to teach people to have what they need to get the work that will be available.

Aside from looking at schooling as nothing more than preparation for a career in a company, there is also the concept, which seems to be slipping, that education should help prepare students to be better and wiser human beings. Watch people debate politics and policy and you could frequently notice a lack of critical thinking no matter whether team you observed.

Forbes