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Obsidian Planning

Obsidian Market Update 10/28/2023

Economic Update

The Good Stuff

It’s easy to overlook all that’s going right in the U.S., so we’ve collected just a few of the good things we’ve been thinking about this week.

  • The labor market is going strong. Unemployment remained unchanged in September at 3.8%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a complex formula to calculate “full employment,” and the Federal Reserve uses another. Generally speaking, however, full or maximum employment describes the point at which nearly everyone who wants a job has one.
  • “Between 2019 and 2022, low-wage workers experienced historically fast real wage growth.”
  • According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal income in the U.S. increased in August by $87.6 billion (0.4% at a monthly rate).
  • On Friday October 20, the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds topped 5% for the first time since 2007. While high yields have a negative effect on the stock markets, they make Treasury bonds attractive to some investors as an alternative to stock.
  • The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. increased in every quarter between the third quarter of 2022 and the second quarter of 2023.
  • After dropping in August, the number of housing starts increased by a healthy 7% in September.
  • In September, retail sales rose 0.7% over August. This increase exceeded forecasts and signal that consumer spending remains strong despite inflation.
  • The U.S. is the largest producer of natural gas in the world, a fuel that accounts for 33% of the U.S. consumption of energy. For context, petroleum accounts for 35% of U.S. consumption.
  • While accurate numbers are difficult to calculate, U.S. total petroleum production averaged about 20.079 million barrels per day, and U.S. consumption averaged 20.020 million barrels per day.

We could go on and on—the National Park System, New York Style pizza, Maryland blue crabs—but today we’ll stick to the economy. There are enough positives on this list to put us in a great mood for the rest of the week.

Lifestyle

Good Food, Good Movies

Did you know you can have breakfast, and even lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, at Tiffany’s? Do you still drool over the meals Julia Roberts savored in Eat Pray Love? Several tour companies will take you to the same restaurants in Italy, India and Bali. Remember the pie-in-the-face scene at the end of Heartburn? A reviewer for The Paris Review called that and all but one of author Ephron’s recipes “fabulous.”

We’re sure you have your own favorite food scene, but when it comes to spaghetti and romance, can anything beat Disney’s classic, Lady and The Tramp?

How We Help

Good Business Benchmark

Many of you are business owners who have built good lives for yourself, your families, employees, and communities. It can be easy to focus exclusively on your own business, and not so easy to get an accurate sense of how your business compares with others like it.

We have software that provides information to help you understand how your business stacks up. Let’s say, that in reviewing your financials, we see that your company’s advertising and labor expenses are 10% and 45% (respectively) of total revenue. We can compare your expenses to companies of your size in your industry. These insights spark valuable discussions about how and why you distribute cash flow.

If you’d like to know more about how your company compares to industry norms, give us a call. We’re happy to roll up our sleeves and dig into the data with you.

Advisory Services offered through Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC. Securities are offered through Triad Advisors, member ​FINRA/SIPC.​ Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, LLC, and Obsidian Personal Planning Solutions, Inc, are not affiliated with Triad Advisors.

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