Kanika Marwaha
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Kanika Marwaha in Market and Economic Perspective,

The DOW Soars to 17,000 But Are Your Pockets Feeling Fuller?

The DOW may be dancing around 17,000 but you aren't any richer and here's why: the stock market is only one tool to measure economic growth and business prosperity.

Employment, wages and inflation are a truer gauge of prosperity.  As seen below, hourly wages have dropped dramatically in the US.  Though certain companies have chosen to value the contribution of their employees most seem to be content in paying their employees the lowest salary permissible by law. 

While the graph depicting wages shows falling bars, the opposite is true for the graph that depicts inflation rate. 

Ultimately, what this means is that employers are not paying their employees enough to keep up with the rate of inflation.  It doesn't help that interest rates are down so even depositing money in a savings account isn't comparatively worth it to previous years.
 While there are companies that are truly in financially dire conditions akin to what their employees are suffering, some companies hire over-skilled workers to do menial jobs at a lower rate because they know the work product produced will be of a higher level.  The advantage to employers is that they receive a high quality work product at a low cost.
A high U-6 figure is probably the silent killer of the economy because it is wasted talent. People accept jobs that do not require their higher education or years of experience simply to pay bills. This impacts Consumer Confidence which is measured through the CCI. As the WSJ reports, CCI stands at 85.2 today versus a previous high of 144.7.  
And that's not surprising! If a person is buried in education debt in expectation that their education would lead them to a job which afforded them the ability to more than cover the cost of living and that's not happening, its no surprise the consumer confidence index is suffering, and follows to reason that the stock market can soar but people still don't feel any richer!

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