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Friday Charts: Running for Smiles, Inflation Fears and Scary Unemployment

For most people, Friday’s just the day before the weekend.

But in the Wall Street Daily Nation, it’s the day we ditch the longwinded analysis and let some graphics talk for us.

After all, a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, right?

This week, we’re serving up a call to action to help bring smiles to the world… providing an interesting insight into inflation fears… and sharing a reason why America’s youth should be rejoicing over the current unemployment rate.

So let’s get to it.

Running the Race for Operation Smile…

Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft lip, leaving many unable to eat, speak, socialize, or even smile. And in too many cases, their parents can’t afford the $240 for surgery to allow them to live a normal life.

But that’s where the non-profit organization, Operation Smile, comes in. Ever since 1982, they’ve been providing free surgeries for these children throughout the world.

I’ve traveled with the organization throughout the United States, and all the way to the Philippines and Romania, to witness the impact firsthand.

Just recently, I decided to endure some hardship to make sure that others no longer have to. And I could use your help…

Next Saturday, my wife and I are joining a group of Operation Smile supporters to run in a Tough Mudder race – a grueling, hardcore, 11-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces.

Our goal? To raise awareness and $70,000 to fund the June 2012 medical mission to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

It’s an aggressive goal, for sure. But if we’ve done anything in the last year to make you money, make you laugh, or improve your financial wisdom, would you consider donating a single dollar (or more)? As Anne Frank said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”

All you have to do is click here to help out.

If you can’t afford to give, or choose not to, thank you for at least considering it.

Inflation? Not Here!

The world’s overrun with pundits warning about runaway inflation and how it’s going to grind the economic recovery to a halt.

But what do the charts say? Based on milk prices, we shouldn’t have a fear in the world.

Why? Because milk prices are dropping for consumers and dairy farmers.

In fact, the price farmers receive every month is down 24% since September, according to Nicholas Colas, Chief Market Strategist at ConvergEx Group.

Colas says, “Milk is a key driver of consumer perceptions of inflation.” I’d agree, considering the average American drinks 21 gallons of milk a year, according to USDA data.

Bottom line: The drop in milk prices should at least ease consumer fears of runaway inflation. Whether or not that comfort is misguided – and widespread inflation materializes – is to be determined.

Back to Work in the U.S. and Out of Work in Europe

Yesterday, the Labor Department reported that jobless claims dropped by 27,000 to 365,000.

The world’s brightest economists were, of course – you guessed it – wrong. They expected 379,000 applications.

That’s great news for us, as the employment situation is falling back in line with the historical averages. Finally.

As for our European counterparts, particularly the youth, well, they aren’t nearly as lucky.

Unemployment rates for workers under 25 years old are now above 50% in both Spain and Greece. That’s downright scary compared to the U.S. youth unemployment rate of about 18%.

So parents, be thankful you don’t live in Spain or Greece or your kids might be living at home, raiding your fridge, for much, much longer.

That’s it for today. Before you sign off, though, do us a favor. Let us know what you think about this weekly column – or any of our recent work at Wall Street Daily – by sending an email to feedback@wallstreetdaily.com, leaving a comment below, or catching us on Facebook or Google+.

Ahead of the tape,

Louis Basenese