The terms “unprecedented times,” “uncertainty” and “unchartered waters” continue to dominate the rhetoric of today’s economic environment. Chatter about a looming recession, or at a least a slowdown, continue to creep into conversations.
Covid cases are on the rise (again) and the reinstatement of earlier protocols are being considered in some parts of the country. Lockdown measures remain in place abroad in China but the outlook to reopen has improved. Geopolitical risks have provided yet another market disruption and international conflict has added to ongoing price pressures. Supply-side constraints are pushing input costs higher.
Households are feeling the pain as inflation continues to erode purchasing power. Income growth has not kept pace with spending. Consumers have turned to savings to help support spending habits as fiscal stimulus support has faded and preference for spending on discretionary items – furniture, entertainment, hospitality, etc. – has started to wane. Personal savings rates diminished quickly over the past five months, returning to levels not seen since 2008-2010.