The good news the media does not talk about

The good news the media does not talk about
March 10 19:34 2020 Print This Article

When you turn on the news, whether local or national, the lead story for weeks has been the Coronavirus outbreak (also known as Wuhan flu) and the imminent economic destruction it will cause. Not being reported are plummeting gasoline prices, low home mortgage rates, a strong jobs market, and rising wages. After more than week of stock market selloffs, the American markets realized 5% gains on Tuesday.

Consumers in most states can now find gasoline prices at or below $2.00 per gallon, leaving them with more money to spend or invest on other things. Another opportunity for consumers is low interest rates. Qualified homeowners may refinance their home mortgage for as little as 2.5% interest on a 15-year loan or 3.1% on a 30-year loan. A Charleston-area mortgage underwriter told Lowcountry Source that her average refinancing client saves between $200 and $300 per month on mortgage payments. She also noted that people paying the market standard of $1500 per month in rent can save money by buying a home at the current low interest rates.

The other overlooked story in the news is the robust growth in jobs and wages. The February jobs report showed that 273,000 new jobs were created, the 3.5% unemployment rate is at a 50-year low, and average hourly wages have grown 3.3%, more than double the rate of inflation. The biggest problem in the economy is a shortage of skilled workers to fill the jobs in demand.

So far, the Coronavirus has proven to be mild in terms of hospitalizations or mortality. Most of those infected with Coronavirus have either been elderly or have a compromised immune system. The mortality rate for Coronavirus has been much lower than the seasonal flu. One of the bright spots about the Coronavirus has been that more employers have allowed telecommuting, which has reduced traffic without harming workplace efficiency. That may change workplace practices in the future for employees whose work product is done on computers.