The stock market may have had a rough year in 2018, but reports in the new year have confirmed that 2018 was a great year for American workers.
The Great Recession of 2008 and the growth-strangling policies that followed left many wondering if the American dream was over. Average income, which have been stagnant prior to 2008, dropped about 10 percent. College graduates moved back home because of shrinking job market. Many people gave up on finding a job at all and left the labor market. High taxes and stifling regulation crippled American business as, for example, 210,000 manufacturing jobs were lost during the Obama Administration.
What a difference a few years of good economic policy can make. Those 210,000 manufacturing jobs lost have been replaced by 473,000 new manufacturing jobs in the last two years. The annual growth rate under Obama has almost doubled under Trump. There are now more job openings than job seekers, and many who had lost hope have returned to work.
Not only are there plenty of jobs, but wages paid to American workers are going up. The average hourly wages paid were 3.2 percent more than in 2017, but there are almost 1,000,000 workers per month changing jobs for better pay, boosting the average earnings for workers. Even the lower paid jobs have some wage increases, with increase of over 5 percent lately in the retail and hospitality industries. And don't forget the boost in take- home pay from the tax-reduction bill. For the first time in decades, workers are seeing real earnings gains.
Yet with all of this good news, we still see people who are discouraged, stuck in the past and paralyzed with fear of the future. Many have been tested in the bad years, but we should remember that God promised to test us (Deut. 8:2). He humbles us to teach us, as Jesus said during His temptation in the desert, that "Man does not live on bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord" (Deut. 8:3). Don't let fear keep you from hearing His voice.
Yes, there are clouds on the horizon like government shutdowns, trade wars and stock market volatility, but there are always clouds on the horizon. This is a new day, and now is the time to step out in faith for that promotion, better job, a career change or perhaps starting a new business.
Remember the word of the Lord: "For I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11).
Have hope, have faith and step into your future today.
Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.
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