The Congressional Budget Office is now projecting the 2014 fiscal deficit to be 2.8% of GDP this year, sharply down from original estimates of 3.7%, and even below the 3.2% we have averaged since 1980.
As an aside, the unemployment rate has averaged 6.5% so far this year. That is the annual average since 1980. And of course the rate is still dropping.
That's right. The deficit is now lower than average, as is unemployment.
I've previously reported that we are closing in on the longest streak in job gains (including public and private sector) since 1939. But if we exclude government layoffs and focus just on the private sector, we've already created the longest streak with the latest jobs report.
The average workweek in the manufacturing sector in March hit 42 hours, tied for the highest since July of 1945. 1945. (That bears repeating.) And hours worked is a nice leading indicator of growth in employment since companies usually put folks on overtime before they start to hire.
On a related note, Gallup's job creation index hit its highest level since February of 2008. In the 52nd consecutive month of job creation, the job creation index hit its highest level yet. There is no sign of a slowdown yet.
Housing starts broke a million this spring for two months in a row. New car sales hit an annual rate of 17 million in June. The last year in which the car industry sold more than 17 million "light vehicles" was in 2001. Sales are up 10% from January and up 25% from 2011.
That's good news. Which is bad news for all the pundits who prefer to start their sermons with warnings that we're all going to hell with our handbags if we don't change our ways.