I am retired from the U.S. Department of Labor after a career that included 10 years as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics's Southeast Regional Economist where I focused on U.S. labor markets. My main interest is in bonds, utility stocks, and REITS. Individual stocks and bonds are as much affected by the overall direction of the economy as the activities of individual firms, so when I focus on stocks, I include consideration of the political environment in which a company operates as much as on the company's financial situation. It is important to get underneath the top line data, as reported in the media, to really understand the direction of the economy. My goal is to provide knowledge and understanding of macro trends and add depth to the national statistics reported elsewhere.