This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 06 August 2021

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Aug 16, 2021

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 06 August 2021

Olympic trivia for the day…Eddie Alvarez is about to become just the third American, and sixth Olympic athlete overall, to win medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.  Alvarez won a silver medal as a member of the 5,000-meter ice skating relay team at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.  He then transitioned to baseball, which he noted has absolutely nothing in common with speed skating other than requiring a series of left turns.  He is now a shortstop in the Miami Marlins system with their AAA minor league affiliate in Jacksonville, FL.  With yesterday’s 7 – 2 victory over South Korea, the USA Baseball team is assured of nothing worse than a silver medal depending upon the outcome of tomorrow’s gold medal game against Japan.  That has nothing to do with the economy, but I thought it was neat.

 

Back to the economy, issues with supply constraints remains a broken-record reference, but data this week highlighted the economy's resilience in spite of those continuing problems.  Meanwhile financial markets weighed the impact of the Delta variant wave on the outlook for the economy and Fed policy. ISM surveys for the manufacturing and service sectors continued to show businesses' ability to operate in this supply-strained world, with the latter hitting a new record high. Finally, this morning's virtually blemish-free employment report marked a big step down the road of "substantial further progress."




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Deep thought for the week, if a tree falls in the forest, or an Olympics occurs, and no one is there to hear it or see it, did it really occur?

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The resiliency of the U.S. consumer was also on display, as total retail sales increased a stronger-than-expected 1.3% in October, boosted, in part, by a 1.3% jump in motor vehicles & parts and a 4.1% rise at gasoline stations.

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Although payroll growth is easing, the labor market remains relatively tight. The unemployment rate inched up to 3.9% in October, slightly higher than the cycle low of 3.4% first hit in January 2023, but still low compared to historical averages.

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e move into the Labor Day weekend celebrating the 235K jobs added in August, while simultaneously lamenting that it was about half a million jobs short of expectations.

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In March retail sales fell 1.0%, manufacturing production slipped 0.5% and the consumer price index rose a modest 0.1%.

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Consumer momentum remains largely intact, inflation continues to inch back down, albeit at a slower pace, and rate-sensitive sectors stayed in a holding pattern.

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Retail sales increased for a fourth straight month in January, underscoring the resiliency of the U.S. consumer. Fundamentals are solid and support our expectations for healthy consumer spending gains in coming months.

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Real GDP jumped a record 33.1% during Q3, beating expectations. A 40.7% surge in consumer spending drove the gain.

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Data continue to reflect an economy digging itself out of the lockdown-induced slump.

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Stronger-than-expected inflation, underpinned by the mildly hawkish minutes from the January FOMC meeting, drove a move higher in mortgage rates.


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