The Shaping of the US Economy

What issues are currently shaping the US economy?

First, the growth and expansion of Silicon Valley which seems to be fast moving to various cities around America.  According to Peter Hirshberg, Group Chairman at Re:Imagine (a technology firm that drives innovation in the public and private sector) “the ethos of Silicon Valley” is spreading nationwide right now.  This can be seen in places such as Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio and Youngstown which are becoming “maker cities” for this trend.

Second, the developing strength of the middle classes countrywide.  Incomes grew by 3.2 percent in 2016 (following a ten year stretch that was described as the Great Recession due to unemployment and low wages). Plus, there was a jump in household income for the median household in the country to $59,039 during that time (from 2015’s figure of $57,230).

Third, the economy’s strength and weakness can be viewed via the stocks’ sluggish performance.  According to a recent statement by equity strategist Steven DeSanctis and his associate Miles Bredenoord, there was a 0.5 percent drop in earnings for stocks with small market capitalizations.  In addition, the 10.4 % point gap between small- and large-cap earnings growth was the largest it had been since the fiscal crisis.

These are just some of the areas by which the US economy is being shaped.

Advertising Age’s 40 Under 40 List

awardFor the last few years, AdAge has been compiling a “40 Under 40 List.”  Making it to this list is a real badge of honor, since every honoree has “managed amazing achievements relatively early in their careers. They have shown not just talent, but perseverance, drive and creativity that bodes well for the future of the business.”

AdAge says that it looks for a whole slew of different talents, that comprise “paradigm breakers, smart thinkers and thought leaders who are really making a difference and who are tipped to climb company ladders…[AdAge seeks] to identify the people who are reshaping marketing and making important contributions to a company or business.”

Adam Roseman received the honor this year, making it to the list.  And he really felt that it was an honor.  The co-founder and CEO of FansTang (digital media company with a focus on China’s increasing demand for content from around the world, in Chinese) said he was “honored to be recognized by Advertising Age amongst all the other established, talented industry leaders…[and very] proud of what [his] business has achieved.”

Roseman went on to explain about FansTang’s strategy which is centered on using the firm’s broad “data analytics and production capabilities to create positive and localized international content consistent with Chinese culture and appealing to Chinese millennial consumers.”  This year, he said they will continue their focus on the production and curation of “high quality digital content, expanding [its] brand partnerships and further developing [its] exceptional international team.”

One of last year’s honorees – Spence Kramer – was just appointed CEO of J. Walter Thompson Atlanta. The umbrella organization – J. Walter Thompson is “the world’s best-known marketing communications brand.”  According to Stefano Zunino, JWT CEO of the Americas, Kramer has “contributed pioneering ideas like Walter, the start-up agency for start-ups; Pennzoil Mario Kart experience at the SXSW festival; and extended the agency’s humanitarian efforts with the Travis Manion Foundation.”

Everyone who finds a place on this list, has, as Deputy Editor of AdAge, Judann Pollack points out “one thing in common: they are smart young innovators who will be driving business for years to come.”

Workers Demonstrate Against McDonalds and Wages

happymealThe happymeal is apparently not making everyone happy. More than 100 demonstrators were arrested on Wednesday as they protested the fast-food chain’s corporate campus near Chicago. They were demanding that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour and that they have the right to unionize.

The protest came the day before the shareholder vote on executive pay was set to take place. Chief Executive Don Thompson earned a total compensation of $9.5 million in 2013, and this flies in the face of the struggles that many middle to low income Americans are experiencing.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for the approximately 3.5 million fast-food and counter workers is $8.83. US President Barack Obama has been pushing for Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour.

McDonald’s spokeswoman Heidi Barker Sa Shekhm said, “$15 is unrealistic, but we know that the minimum wage will increase over time.”

Time will tell how the controversy gets settled.