For years I’ve felt like a lonely optimist in a dark and dangerous world.
In 2007, the U.S. economy was booming. House prices soared, unemployment was rare and anything seemed possible.
Then came the Great Recession, stock market collapse and the world financial system’s near failure. No one knew what to do.
Since that scary winter of 2009, the U.S. economy has rebounded. Car sales have doubled and housing starts quadrupled. The unemployment rate is half the recession peak.
Anecdotally, the pickup is dramatic. Help wanted signs have sprouted in store windows, trucks clog highways and realtors occasionally smile. The stock market has nearly tripled. For the first time in years, U.S. energy independence is possible.
Yet most Americans believe the country is on the wrong path. Only a month ago, the stock market plunged amid a weakening economy and troubles in China.
While problems never disappear, perspective is in order. U.S. GDP is up $3 trillion from the recession low to $17.4 trillion. The number of people with jobs in the U.S. is up by 10 million from 2009 to 148 million now.
Is everything perfect? No. But gloom and doom are overstated. After a scary drop in late August and September, the stock market rebounded and is flat for the year.
An investor must be an optimist and it’s possible they are at least partly right.