Gregory Daco, Oxford Economics Chief U.S. Economist, tracks six metrics to gauge how the financial system is performing. In early November he wrote, “The U.S. Recovery Tracker posted its third consecutive decline in the week ended Oct. 23, falling 0.6 points to 79.4. The dangerous cocktail of surging Covid-19 infections and fading fiscal support led to a visible slowdown in economic activity in October, with the tracker falling to its lowest level in 10 weeks.”
While this assertion was from three weeks in the past, I consider Daco’s Recovery Tracker has in all probability continued to fall vs. enhancing because of the elevated variety of coronavirus instances, hospitalizations and deaths, larger unemployment claims and monetary stimulus not being renewed.
Daco additionally tracks the restoration in Europe and never surprisingly its pattren tracks the U.S. very intently. While Europe wouldn’t be anticipated to offer an enormous help to the U.S., having one other giant area of the globe faltering will not be useful.
Personal Income fell in October
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that private revenue within the U.S. fell 0.7% from September to October. While the decline was resulting from a lower in authorities social profit funds, people nonetheless had a smaller amount of cash to spend. If this pattern continues or simply stays flat that is one thing to control as we enter the vacation season.
Retail gross sales getting into the essential vacation season
Retail and meals service gross sales barely elevated from September to October after two sturdy months in August and September in keeping with the U.S. Census Bureau. Total gross sales elevated 0.3% month-to-month however have been up 5.7% year-over-year. While a one-month slowdown doesn’t make a pattern, it’s one thing to control.
The National Retail Federation pegs this 12 months’s vacation spending enhance at 3.6% to five.2%. This compares to a 4% enhance final 12 months and three.5% on common the previous 5 years. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz mentioned, “Given the pandemic, there is uncertainty about consumers’ willingness to spend, but with the economy improving most have the ability to spend. Consumers have experienced a difficult year but will likely spend more than anyone would have expected just a few months ago.”
He added, “After all they’ve been through, we think there’s going to be a psychological factor that they owe it to themselves and their families to have a better-than-normal holiday. There are risks to the economy if the virus continues to spread, but as long as consumers remain confident and upbeat, they will spend for the holiday season.”
However, Daco at Oxford Economics believes vacation spending may rise lower than 1% and should even fall year-over-year. This can be resulting from, “muted employment gains and reduced fiscal aid weighing on incomes. Plus, a worsening Covid-19 outbreak is once again limiting activity across the country.”
He added, “big unknowns include the trajectory of the third Covid-19 wave, the distribution of personal savings across lower- and higher-income families, and higher-income families’ propensity to shift traditional spending on services toward goods” together with, “We can’t sugarcoat it: The US health situation is going from bad to worse, and this will have important consequences on economic activity in coming weeks, especially in the absence of additional fiscal aid.”
Consumer confidence is shaken
The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index declined from 101.4 in October to 96.1 in November. While the Present Situation Index remained primarily flat (down from 106.2 to 105.9) the Expectations Index took an enormous hit from 98.2 to 89.5.
Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board commented, “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions held steady, though consumers noted a moderation in business conditions, suggesting growth has slowed in Q4. Heading into 2021, consumers do not foresee the economy, nor the labor market, gaining strength. In addition, the resurgence of COVID-19 is further increasing uncertainty and exacerbating concerns about the outlook.”
The Surveys of Consumers by the University of Michigan confirmed an analogous decline in shopper sentiment. While its Current Conditions Index rose barely (vs. The Conference Board’s slight decline), its Expectations Index tumbled from 79.2 to 70.5. Richard Curtin, Surveys of Consumers Chief Economist, commented, “The resurgence of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the months ahead is likely to promote more firm closures and stay-at-home orders in addition to mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing. Widespread closures are likely to exact a heavy toll on the economy and cause severe hardships for some households. A delay in federal aid until next year would permit great harm and permanent damage to occur for many households, firms, and local governments. Immediate action by the current administration and Congress is urgently needed to secure the continuation of the economic recovery and to ensure the welfare of all households.”