Steven Rattner, a long-time Wall Street financier, led the restructuring of the auto industry in 2009 as counselor to the Treasury secretary under the Obama administration. His book “Overhaul: An Insider’s Account of the Obama Administration’s Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry” was published in 2010. He is the chairman of Willett Advisors, the investment arm for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s personal and philanthropic assets, and the economic analyst for MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Follow Steven Rattner at twitter.com/SteveRattnerSource: The New York Times
Although developments on the political front were certainly dispiriting, for the first time in years, the economic news was not all gloomy. But with the economy improving, there was less focus on the continuing need to address flagging incomes, rising inequality and unbalanced government spending. Below are 10 charts to illustrate the crosscurrents of the past year in economics and politics:
The Economy Picks Up SpeedSources: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Bureau of Economic Analysis
By the end of 2014, even the most hardened cynics had to concede that the darkness that had pervaded the American economy since 2008 had lifted a bit. Most visibly, the rate of job growth accelerated, from 194,000 per month in 2013 to 241,000 per month in 2014. By May 2014, the total number of jobs had run past its previous peak in early 2008. Meanwhile, the overall economy began to expand at faster annual rates — 4.6 percent in the second quarter and a remarkable 5.0 percent in the third quarter.
Plunging Oil Prices
Sources: New York Mercantile Exchange; American Automobile Association
Wages Still Lag
Sources: The New York Times (Democrat vote); pre-election polls by NBC/Marist except for Fox News (Alaska) and Real Clear Politics (New Hampshire and Virginia)