Eight years after the global recession, Europe hasn’t recovered as well as the United States.
According to economist Joseph E. Stiglitz, the eurozone project was “flawed at birth.”1
In his new book, “Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe,” Stiglitz describes how an attempt to unify the continent with the Euro is largely to blame for the deep-rooted social issues that have stifled economic growth and increased unemployment. The subsequent “Brexit” vote appears to be a culmination of citizen discontent — a passion so strong that the decisive result should not come as a surprise.2
Ironically, while the financial crisis originated in the United States, we have managed to recover more quickly than Europe. Or at least that’s what the data says.3 The current unemployment rate is low, wage growth has picked up in recent months and the markets have experienced record performance.4
However, even in the face of recovery, some of us have felt a sense of loss. For many, the first decade of the millennium represented a shortfall — of investment earnings, property values and the lack of opportunity to invest more during a strong market period. So numbers reported in the news don’t always reflect the way we feel about our individual finances.5
Short of each of us taking control of our own financial strategy, it’s easy to look back and place blame for the financial challenges that set us back. Some pundits claim that America has two different economies, one for higher income earners and another for the lower class.6
Over the past six years, 99 percent of new jobs have gone to people with at least some college education.7 It’s interesting that with employment so dependent on education, it’s not a career field that pays very well. Data shows teacher salaries are among the lowest-paying professions that require a college degree.8
However, demographic trends give us reasons to look forward with optimism. For example, the median American age is 26.9 A large segment of the population is approaching personal economic growth — in their careers, buying houses and investing in the markets. This could bode well for everyone, including those nearing retirement, as America continues its recovery.
1 Knowledge@Wharton. Aug. 24, 2016. “‘Flawed at Birth’: Why the Eurozone Faces Endless Division.” http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/how-the-euro-threatens-europes-future/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
4 Patrick Gillespie. CNN Money. July 28, 2016. “U.S. economic recovery may not be worst ever.” http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/28/news/economy/us-economy-recovery/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
5 Sarah Kendzior. Quartz. April 29, 2016. “Geography is making America’s uneven economic recovery worse.” http://qz.com/672589/geography-is-making-americas-uneven-economic-recovery-worse/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
7 Anthony P. Carnevale, Tamara Jayasundera, Artem Gulish. Georgetown University. 2016. “America’s Divided Recovery: College Haves and Have-Nots.” https://cew.georgetown.edu/wp-content/uploads/Americas-Divided-Recovery-web.pdf. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
8 Ben Casselman. Fivethirtyeight.com. Aug. 29, 2016. “The Economic Recovery Hasn’t Reached America’s Schools.” https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-economic-recovery-hasnt-reached-americas-schools/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
9 Chris Matthews. Fortune. Aug. 16, 2016. “Here’s the Big Risk to America’s Housing Recovery.” http://fortune.com/2016/08/16/housing-recovery-end/. Accessed Sept. 30, 2016.
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