One little-noticed measure of economic growth is the Truck Tonnage Index. The latest reading shows that trucks are carrying more goods, and that suggests the economy is doing well enough to avoid a recession.
Speculators in the agricultural commodities markets are forcing grocery prices to rise too quickly and erratically, according to some top economists marking World Food Day on Sunday.
"Excessive financial speculation is contributing to increasing volatility and record food prices, exacerbating global hunger and poverty," wrote 461 economists, from more than 40 countries, in an open letter.
The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department reported Thursday that 404,000 more people filed for unemployment benefits last week, a number that's essentially unchanged from the week before.
Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S., but at the same time there are still job openings around the country.
Over the next two weeks, some 5,000 people will fill the sanctuaries at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., to pray, worship and remember their spiritual roots.
"Rosh Hashana is a time of renewal, and it's a time of reconnecting with what really matters for us as a Jewish people," Rabbi Gil Steinlauf says.
The Jewish New Year is a time of spiritual awe — and practical considerations. Unlike churches, most synagogues charge membership dues to keep the lights on and fund the programs, because they are autonomous and do not receive funding from a national body.