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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Despite a few misses on the headline numbers, economic data this week highlighted a theme of demand continuing to outstrip supply and ongoing slack in the labor market.

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Market attention was concentrated on the January consumer price data, as inflation has come back into focus.

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U.S. GDP declined at an annualized rate of 4.8% in the first quarter, only a hint of what is to come in the second quarter.

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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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The manufacturing sector is showing a great deal of resilience, with the ISM Manufacturing survey exceeding expectations, at 60.7, and factory orders remaining strong.

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The U.S. surpassed Italy and China with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19. Europe is still the center of the storm, with the total cases in Europe’s five largest economies topping 230,000.

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Although the recovery from the COVID recession is still far from over, the U.S. economy is bouncing back faster than many expected.

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More job seekers also lifted the participation rate to 62.4% and thus easing some tightness in the job market even as payrolls expanded.

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The details were generally more favorable. The retail sectors hurt most by the pandemic saw gains in August, factory output is growing and soaring homebuilder confidence suggests soft construction data this week may be transitory.

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It may be a holiday-shortened week, but there have been as many developments and economic indicators packed into three days as we can recall seeing in any other week this year.


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