We are five weeks from the end of a decade that saw prosperity spread far and wide. Some don't see it that way, as pouting pundits and negative politics skew our vision. But, if we step back from the noise and take in the progress around us, there is a a lot to be thankful for.
For starters, the US economy is in solid shape. The unemployment rate is 3.6%, the lowest since 1969.
Average hourly earnings are up 3.0% from a year ago, making this the seventh year in a row of higher real wages. In the past year, earnings for workers age 25+ with less than a high school diploma, are up 9.0%.
Meanwhile, US equities have recently hit all-time highs, pushing IRAs, 401ks, and retirement wealth higher. Both workers and investors have good reason to be grateful for that!
The lives of people the world over have improved because of the grit and determination of inventors and entrepreneurs. A decade ago, who used their phone to order a car to give them a ride?
Think about the standardization of car and truck technology that used to be reserved for the upscale, like adaptive cruise control or blind-spot warnings, even self-parking cars. Backup cameras now come standard.
Innovation is also helping save lives in crisis situations. This includes the 3D printing of body parts...skin cells, lungs, and more to come soon. Cancer death rates have dropped consistently for decades, and new technology promises further improvement.
Advances in energy production have lowered the average price of oil (West Texas Intermediate) from $78 in November 2009, a decade ago, down to $58. Lower prices are a direct result of the combination and widespread use of horizontal drilling and fracking. As a result, Americans can heat and cool their homes, as well as travel, for less than they used to.
If we're honest, we have so much to be thankful for. There has never, in the history of the world, been a better time to be alive. Our ancestors could find faults with some things today, but they'd be left speechless at our abundant, opportunity.