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Stocks in the News

Ryan McQueeney

Election Day Arrives, Economic Concerns Motivating Voters

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Election Day 2016 has arrived, and after months of grueling campaigning by both parties, Americans will finally decide on the next president of the United States. With the race between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump still too close to call, the country’s attention will be firmly fixed on the news as the election results begin pouring in Tuesday night.

The 2016 election will go down in history for its uniqueness. Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be a presidential nominee for a major U.S. party, and she simultaneously become the first nominee to be publicly investigated by the FBI while campaigning.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, is uniquely inexperienced in politics, and perhaps no other candidate in recent memory has garnered as much controversy as the businessman turned reality TV star. His polarizing statements regarding women, immigrants, and Muslims have fueled headlines for months.

And this basically sums up the absolute insanity of this election cycle. The focus of the national media has, rather unfortunately, been planted on a bunch of emails and leaked recordings and not on the policy issues that actually drive Americans to the polls.

Despite the lack of substance in the news, the motivations of voters remain relatively similar to previous elections. According to a recent Reuters poll, Americans still highlight the economy has the most important problem facing the U.S. today.

 

 

Interestingly enough, the state of the economy is one of the only key issues that we can produce some objective facts about. Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly non-farm payroll statistics, which indicated that 161k new jobs were created in October.

This figure was slightly below the 170-1705k range that analysts had anticipated, but jobs growth was great enough to bring the unemployment rate back down to 4.9%. Average wages rose 0.4% and 2.8% year-over-year, and upward revisions were made to the October and September numbers. Furthermore, “real” unemployment fell to a historically low 9.5% (also read: All About October Jobs: +161K, Plus Upward Revisions).

Nevertheless, less than two months ago, the Fed refrained from raising interest rates “for the time being” as they sought further evidence of economic strength. Whether or not the October jobs report was strong enough to inspire an interest rate hike by the year’s end remains to be seen.

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