A Look at Our Economy Going Into 2015

2014 was a great year for the economy. Gas prices at the end of the year were the lowest in December since 2008, hundreds of thousands of homes were sold each month, and the stock market broke records. Here are some facts to consider going into 2015.

Unemployment keeps dropping. The unemployment rate has dropped to about 5.8% by the end of November 2014, a decrease from 6.6% at the beginning of the year, and vastly improved over the 9.7% unemployment we had in January of 2010. The last time the national unemployment levels were this low was July of 2008.

Homes are selling. The year began with a low of 4,620,000 existing homes sold in January 2014, and ended with 4,930,000 in December. There was a large spike in October 2014 with an estimated 5,250,000 units sold, marking the best month of existing home sales since summer 2013, which saw the highest units sold since November 2009.

Gas is cheap. We are experiencing some of the cheapest gas prices in years, mostly due to higher oil production here at home. The average price of a gallon of gas at the end of December was $2.29, which is $1.03 cheaper than it was at the end of December in 2013. Gas hasn’t been priced this low in December since 2008.

Jobs are being added. The U.S. has added 321,000 jobs in November alone, meaning that excluding December, a total of around 2,650,000 jobs added to the economy in 2014 alone (again, that’s excluding the month of December, whose numbers will be out later this month).

The stock market is booming. 2014 continued the 5-year trend of overall improvement in the stock market since the recession. In January 2014, S&P 500 started at 1,831.98 and ended at 2,058.90 this past New Years Eve - that’s about an 11% increase in 2014 and a 44.3% increase since January of 2010. The S&P 500 also hit an all-time high of 2,090.57 on Monday, December 29, 2014.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) started the year at 16,441.35 in January 2014 and ended the year at 17,823.07, a 7.75% increase over the year and a 40.4% increase since January of 2010. The Dow Jones Industrial Average also recorded its highest closing numbers since its conception, closing at 18,053.71 on December 26, 2014.

The NASDAQ started in January 2014 at 4,143.07 and ended at 4,736.05 on December 31, 2014. The NASDAQ grew about 12.5% over the course of the year and 51% over the course of 5 years. Needless to say, investments are looking bright this going into 2015.

2014 was a year for record setting, cheap gas, and adding millions of jobs to the economy. The unemployment rate is low and the price of stocks are high. There’s really no telling what 2015 will bring, but if 2014 is any indicator, it’s looking good for the American economy.