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Chief Economist: America's Economy Is Great Right Now


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Never turn down the opportunity to pick the brain of a chief economist, especially if it includes breakfast. I just returned from a Minnesota Shopping Center Association event keynoted by Ted C. Jones of Stewart Title Guaranty Company and a chief economist at Texas A&M. His central message? Ignore what some politicians are saying: America’s economy is currently very strong, and looking good through the medium term.

Throwing out some key data points for the economy, with a heavy focus on commercial and residential real estate, Jones laid out a data-based case that supported his optimistic forecast.

With a bright American flag tie, perhaps so he wouldn’t be labeled as unpatriotic by this rogue crowd of lenders, builders and brokers, Jones threw out some “mega themes” including that America currently has more jobs than ever before. He added that the scale is finally tipping toward better, higher-paying jobs that are fueling the service sector.

“We’re creating very good jobs,” he said, noting that the Bureau of Labor Statistics says we’ve created 2.692 million jobs in the past six months. “We’re now seeing the largest retail boom in history, and it’s going to last for 14 more years.” How’s that for specificity?

Zeroing in on leisure and hospitality job creation, Jones said this is the ultimate sign of good things to come in retail—employed folks feeling optimistic enough to spend some money on the good life. He added that record-setting auto sales similarly bode well for upcoming retail growth as everyone gears up to take their shiny new rides for a great American road trip. With the AAA reporting that low gas prices will save the average American $550 this year, that’s even more fun money in their wallets.

As Jones closed his hour long address, he waded back into politics seemingly just for fun to add that it’s “just not true” that China is destroying our economy. A lopsided demographic largely due to the country’s previous one-child-only policy has set China up for decades of pain, which he said shouldn’t be so bad for the American economy since we currently buy four times the dollar value of goods that they buy from us.

Keep America great this summer by getting out there and spending your portion of our petro dollars!

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