This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 13 August 2021

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Aug 19, 2021

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 13 August 2021

Census numbers dropped this week, and although Houston was the second fastest growing major city in the U.S. the last decade, at 9.8% (Phoenix was first at 11.2%), we didn’t quite catch Chicago to officially take over as the 3rd largest city in the U.S.  We’ll get ’em next time.  Meanwhile, the CPI data this week showed that the sharpest monthly consumer price hikes may be behind us, but inflation is not about to quietly fade away.

Ongoing supply constraints for products and labor, rising costs and renewed risks around COVID weighed on small business optimism in July and on the Wells Fargo Economics team’s outlook for growth, which includes an expectation for a 7.3% annual rate rise in Personal Consumption Expenditures (“PCE”) for Q3, down from 8.3% before the COVID Delta variant began its current run. 

That is expected to pull PCE back to 8.7% for the year, versus the prior 9.0% expectation.  The general outlook remains positive as households have accumulated over $2T in excess savings on their balance sheets and net worth has risen across all income groups.




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Visiting from Texas, it felt more like fall, which like the Texas cold-snap last February just goes to show that it’s a case of what you’re used to.

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The U.S. is in a severe recession caused by the sudden shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the lock down began, the nation has lost 21.4 million jobs.

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Existing home sales rose 2.4% to a 6.0-million unit annual pace. The surge in sales further depleted inventories and pushed prices sharply higher.

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

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Oil prices went negative for the first time in history on Monday as the evaporation of demand collided with a supply glut. In the past five weeks, 26.5 million people have filed for unemployment insurance, or more than one out of every seven workers.

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Retail sales fell 0.7% in December, the third straight monthly decline. Sales are still up 2.9% over the year, however.

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In the immediate fallout after the lockdowns in the early stages of this pandemic, there was a lot of discussion about the shape of the recovery.

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Data this week continued to suggest the U.S. economy hit rock bottom in April. Still, it is a long road to recovery and the pickup in economic activity will be gradual.

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Two countervailing themes competed for attention this week in financial markets. The first is that for the most part, economic data continue to surprise to the upside and do not yet rule out prospects for that elusive V-shaped recovery.

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The international economic news over the past week has been somewhat mixed. On the positive side, China’s October data showed ongoing growth in manufacturing and firming retail and service sector activity.


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