The US economy is surging and life is returning to normal. Consumers have healthy balance sheets and inflation is a hot topic. Companies in hard-hit industries are even talking about having a difficult time finding staff. The Fed seems to be seeing a different picture of the economy though and has no intention of tapering pandemic era stimulus until it’s clear that the economy has returned to maximum employment and inflation is running above 2%.
Vaccines continue to be administered and supply will likely open up, even more, starting in April. Consumers have been dreaming of a return to normal and we appear to be at the cusp. The result of vaccination could be an explosion of pent-up demand for hardest-hit industries and a much better second half than people expect. Still, strong demand is putting pressure on supply chains and creating inflationary pressures. Given that stimulus is dependent on a K-shaped recovery, normalization could bring its own economic disruptions.
Succinct Summary: Most parts of the economy have normalized and the economic winners are booming. Technology, cloud service and e-commerce are leading the way and other industries are surging as well. Financial service firms focused on M&A advisory, trading and restructuring are seeing strong business. The housing market is also on fire with new home sales up 32% y/y. This week’s election and a renewed wave of COVID could dampen activity, but for now, the economy is doing remarkably well. COVID may have led to structurally higher productivity.
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