4 Economic Factors to Keep an Eye on in December

Good afternoon! I hope you’ve had a great week, and we’re glad to see you again here on Money Walks. October was one of the best months the American economy has had in a few years. Then, November happened. The economy started to go on the fritz and we all felt it.

Now, it’s December, and a few of those factors have cooled down a bit. The economy’s on the rise again. Today, we’re going to look at a few economic factors to keep an eye on this month, as they’ve already started to affect the economy (for better or worse) and we’re only two days in!

1. Unemployment. In November, employers added 120,000 new jobs to the market. Because of this huge influx, more people were able to get out of the unemployment pool. The unemployment rate, as of this morning, is 8.6%. This is the lowest that it has been since March 2009. Two and a half years ago. This has already affected the economy positively; as of 12 PM EST, the stock market was up 1%.

2. Europe. The European Union has been the center of attention for many economists as of late. Greece, Ireland, and Portugal have all been walking a fine line and economists have been predicting defaults that could have a catastrophic domino effect on the rest of the EU if it isn’t taken care of quickly. Germany has started to spearhead efforts to qualm the European debt crisis, and with Germany’s leadership and persistence, a solution is more likely to happen. If they continue to go forward with it, it may help to stabilize the economy world wide.

3. Retail Businesses. Retail has struggled more in the past two years than it ever has before; many popular chains have succumbed to bankruptcy due to the poor economy, the most recent of which being Borders Bookstores. November and December are popular months for retail merchants; with Black Friday and Cyber Monday spearheading the beginning of the holiday season, sales are always up a bit. Early estimates say that this Black Friday was more profitable than those that occurred over the last two years.

4. Automobiles. Cash for Clunkers, the government program implemented in 2009 where you could trade in your old car for cash toward a newer, more gas efficient and environmentally friendly model, gave the automotive industry a boost that they needed during that time. Now, there’s no incentives, but it appears that November was a huge month for the automotive industry; sales increased by and average of 13.9%, making it the best month for sales (other than the Cash for Clunkers surge) since September of 2008. What companies should you be watching? Chrysler made out the best by a landslide; their sales increased 45%, followed by Ford (20%), GM (15%) and Toyota (6.7%). These numbers are encouraging, especially because all of them are domestic automakers. These boosts put every domestic automaker in a position to gain market share in the same year; something that hasn’t happened in decades.

So, watching your stocks? You should be watching other economic factors too. Keep an eye on these in December; we may close out this calendar year better than we have in a few years. Have a great week!

  1. Carnival of Personal Finance | Afford Anything - pingback on December 5, 2011 at 12:13 pm

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