While the country remains anxious about the outcome of the presidential election, the stock market has spent much of the week seeing dramatic growth. It's one of several encouraging signs: Increased consumer spending, lower jobless claims, and healthy job-creation that has dropped the nation's unemployment rate to 6.9%.
If all that seems like good news, there may be some 'heavy lifting' to make it stick.
"'Are you looking at the real world, where we all live, or the 'market world' where none of us live?" asks Houston financial advisor Rich Rosso, who says Wall Street is rarely on the same page as Main Street, where financial challenges exist.
On the jobs front, hiring has grown in some sectors, but others are bracing or more cuts. That's particularly true in the Energy Corridor, where corporations are in the midst of massive reorganization. Rosso says a wide range of employers will trim staff, by years end, and beyond.
"Companies are going to totally redesign themselves and look at their workforce seriously, every year, and possibly let more and more people go," he says.
As those job losses continue and household and business-budgets are squeezed, the economy may contract even worse than it has, without help. "That means buying less, going out to eat less," says Rosso, "It's an economy, it's only smaller."
Part of the solution may come when lawmakers return to Washington, where Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has promised to renew the issue of increased stimulus to blunt the impact of the virus, on the economy. That may be in the form of direct payments, an extension of unemployment benefits, or other add-on's to help consumers, that will add trillions to the nation's debt. It's an expense that may continue for the foreseeable future.
"I don't really think we understand the structural damage to the economy, and until we get a clearer picture of that, do stimulus first and worry about it later," says Rosso.
An analysis of who's in the White House, and who's on Capitol Hill, suggests that, typically, a divided Congress is better for the economy whether there's a Republican or Democrat President. After a heated campaign, it'll be up to lawmakers, and whomever is president, to prove that trend correct.