This is the first in a series of columns examining the state of the economy over the past year.
The numbers are out there.
They’re out there in the wild, they’re out in the open, and they’re all looking up.
The unemployment rate is down to 4.5%, the economy is growing and the economy isn’t contracting.
It’s good news for people.
Inflation is at its lowest level in almost four years, and GDP is on a strong upward trajectory.
The stock market is roaring, and the government is taking action to help those who need it most.
The economy is strong and it is growing.
The question is where do we go from here?
The bottom of the economic pie is a very, very big pie.
The chart below breaks down the economic growth rate by age.
When the economy was growing at its fastest rate since the Great Depression, the economy had been expanding at a much faster rate than the population.
But that didn’t happen until 2009.
And then things slowed.
The economic recovery began in earnest in 2012.
Then, as the economy began to pick up, the recovery picked up again.
In fact, the growth rate rose again in 2014, and it has been on a steady upward trajectory since then.
It’s clear that, despite all the growth and progress, there is still plenty of work to be done.
But it’s also clear that there is a lot of work left to do, too.
For starters, there are still a lot more people out there who need help.
Millennials have been struggling for the better part of the past two decades.
This is one of the reasons why unemployment is so high.
Millennial unemployment is the lowest in 40 years.
There’s also still a large portion of the population that is still out of the labor force.
More than 20% of people age 16 to 24 were still working in 2015.
That number was 7.2% in 2014.
And it’s expected to rise to 8.3% in 2020.
That’s why it is critical that we provide people with the economic support they need to succeed.
Those are the people who are the most at risk for not finding work.
The ones who are unemployed are often those who are at the very bottom of a socioeconomic ladder.
And that means the unemployment rate for those who don’t have a high school diploma is high.
That means they are among the most vulnerable in the economy.
That means there is no place in the U.S. economy for those people who have been left behind.
The question now is: Can we create a recovery that will put an end to the current cycle of decline and a brighter future for all?
The answer is, yes.
While the economy has yet to reach its peak, we’re well on our way to doing so.
The next few months will be pivotal for our economy and our country.
The economic recovery is here, and there is plenty of room for it to pick back up.
We must use the economic recovery to create jobs, invest in infrastructure, and reform our tax code to create a fairer, more inclusive economy.
Let’s go ahead and do it.
Follow John R. Ellement on Twitter @johndellement