The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- The headline unemployment number has fallen to 8.5% from a "Great Recession" high that is well north of 9%. Many say that the trend is heading in the right direction. And the media are beginning to tout the executive branch of government as having contributed to "job creation." Privately, many economists decry that systematic wealth redistribution is incapable of creating jobs -- issues of fairness notwithstanding. In the same vein, conservatives wonder why the White House can be credited with 2.7 million positions filled. Shouldn't the media discuss the 4.3 million lost during the current Administration's tenure? That's a net loss of 1.6 million jobs. (Note: Approximately 4.3 million more jobs were lost under President Bush, for a total loss of 8.6 million. The Great Recession was rather unkind.)
The reality of the U.S. employment picture is that it may be a very long time before the people who long for a "daily grind" get the opportunity again. Without a better participation rate, the U.S. economy and other developed world economies will see undesirably slow economic progress. If there's good news for investors, it's the fact that leaner, meaner multi-national corporations can still be quite profitable, selling their products and services in emerging nations. For that reason, companies that are growing their dividends in Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ( VIG) remain a "buy" for portfolios requiring a bit more equity exposure. (Note: Pay attention to the 200-day trendline.) Of course, the "muddle-through" scenario for the U.S. (and other developed world economies) still has an uncomfortable itch or two. Italian 10-year yields are still north of 7% and the euro-dollar is testing 52-week lows. The CurrencyShares Euro Trust ( FXE) is "unbearably" far from its 50-day moving average, and yes -- pun intended.