The after-college reality is much different from a generation ago. Two thirds of college graduates owe significant money after graduation. According to the Project on Student Debt, debt levels for graduating seniors with student loans from 1997 to 2007 more than doubled from $9,250 to $19,200 – a 108 percent increase.
"The month of May added to the gains of April for stocks as signs of improvement were evident. For the month, Treasury yields rose refelcting better economic growth prospects, credit spreads narrowed as the crisis faded, the dollar strengthened as the U.S. outlook recovers, and the Information Technology sector was the best performer despite soaring oil prices"
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In my view, the seemingly unstoppable rise in energy prices is the biggest problem confronting the U.S. economy and financial markets. Compared to 1999 when oil prices were low, we are now spending an additional $250 billion per year on imported crude oil. U.S. households bear the brunt of the burden where total energy price increases (petroleum products, gas, electricity, etc.) have added nearly $400 billion in additional annual consumer costs compared to 1999. Given that consumer spending, in a good year, increases about $500 billion, this added energy burden is very significant and is slowing real consumer spending sharply. On the other hand, personal income did rise $681 billion last year.