How is the U.S. economy doing? Here are 5 key signs to watch right now

BANK-RATE Mixed signals make it hard to tell just how strong momentum may be with the economy. If the U.S. economy closely resembled any object, it’d probably be a broken traffic light. That’s because the overall financial and economic system is flashing every color possible, from healthy green glows and yellow warning lights to heavy recession-red colors. With so many mixed signals, it isn’t exactly easy to tell just how strong any underlying momentum may be. “Right now, economic growth is decent, but once you dig below the surface, things look a little bit more fragile,” says Scott Anderson, chief U.S. economist at San Francisco-based Bank of the West. “It’s a bifurcated expansion. We’re really looking at a tale of two different realities.” Here’s what’s happening in the U.S. economy right now based on five main tiers — as well as what’s making or breaking it. 1. The U.S. job market is still on firm footing, but hiring has slowed The job market has provided a comforting steadiness for those trying to spot check the health of the U.S. economy during such turbulent times. The unemployment rate is at 3.7 percent, the lowest since Dec. 1969, while employers have added positions for a record 107-straight months. “It’s a labor market that continues to defy expectations of softening,” Anderson says. But it’s evident that the pace of job creation is slowing. At this time last year, the U.S. economy had added nearly 1.87 million new positions. That total year has […]

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