The bull market has now lasted nine years and five months, and this will be the longest market rally in US history as of Wednesday, August 21. And it’s still rising.
It all started in March 2009 at the bottom point of the Great Recession. Jobs and fortunes disappeared. Unemployment hit 9 percent and the auto industry was on the brink of financial disaster.
So, what has caused this long rally leading to an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, more consumer spending, and employers investing in their businesses again? And why have wages risen higher in the past 12 months at a rate not seen since 2008, and why did the GDP grow at a healthy 4.1 percent in the last quarter?
According to the Chicago Tribune editorial board, the reasons are numerous:
• The basic economy is healthy
• Profits are growing
• The Republican tax reform which lowers the corporate tax burden is resulting in a rate that is competitive with other nations
• Businesses and corporations are being encouraged to invest in growth
• Inflation is still low
“Customers tell us that they feel better about the current health of the US economy as well as their personal finances. They’re more confident about their employment opportunities,” says Walmart CEO Doug McMillan.
Critics of the boom maintain that corporations use their big tax savings to buy back stocks and that is what is sending up the market to its current high. Some say this is unethical but actually, it is not, according to the editorial. Corporations see it as a more convenient way to get money to their shareholders. These shareholders then can reinvest in other companies which may need more capital, and therefore can expand their businesses and gain more employees.
All Americans are benefitting from this boom, whether they are stockholders – 54 percent are – or savers counting on a comfortable retirement through faith in the private-sector companies driving the market up.