Despite a big decline in the amount of gold used to make jewelry, the demand for gold as an investment has risen so steeply as to more than make up for the reduced demand for gold jewelry, and has in fact pushed the price of gold to record high levels.
What does all this say? That people don't know what to expect next from this administration, which seldom lets a month go by without some new anti-business laws, policies or rhetoric.
When you hire somebody in this environment, you know what you have agreed to pay them and what additional costs there may be for their health insurance or other benefits. But you have no way of knowing what additional costs the politicians in Washington are going to impose, when they are constantly coming up with new bright ideas for imposing more mandates on business.
One of the little noticed signs of what is going on has been the increase in the employment of temporary workers. Businesses have been increasingly meeting their need for labor by hiring temporary workers and working their existing employees overtime, instead of hiring new people.
Why? Because temporary workers usually don't get health insurance or other benefits, and working existing employees overtime doesn't add to the cost of their benefits.
There is no free lunch-- and the biggest price of all is paid by people who are unemployed because politicians cannot leave the economy alone to recover, as the American economy has repeatedly recovered faster when left alone than when politicians decided that they have to "do something."