Consumer, pay, jobs in The Monday Briefing
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The economic dislocations caused by the pandemic show no sign of abating. After a summer of eye-watering used car prices, milkshake and chicken shortages, now come soaring gas and electricity costs.
In the wake of a blisteringly fast economic recovery have come bottlenecks, supply shortages and inflation. Over the summer the US Federal Reserve’s favoured measure of inflation hit the highest levels in almost 30 years. Unexpected though it is, today’s inflation surge is widely seen as temporary.
The dislocation between supply and demand created by the pandemic is starting to weigh on the recovery. Growth is being held back by supply problems, labour shortages and rising prices. Along with the effects of the Delta variant, such supply issues led to a sharp drop in China’s Caixin index of service activity in August, leaving the sector contracting for the first time since COVID-19 hit early last year. In the US Friday’s payroll data, one of the most important economic releases of the month, came in far below market expectations. Respondents to the UK manufacturing PMI index blamed shortages of materials, shipping capacity and staff for decelerating output growth in August.
Our summer quiz offers an eclectic test of knowledge, of pandemic-related developments, many in economics and business. The answers and a brief explanation of the factors at work are at the end of the quiz.
You may not have been able to get to your preferred holiday haunt this year, but we hope that our summer reading list will offer a distraction wherever you spend your summer break. The eight articles are available free online, although some websites restrict the number of articles that can be accessed without charge each month.
Commodity prices have boomed over the last year, boosted by low interest rates and a snap back in global demand. The Goldman Sachs commodity index has risen by 55% from its low and the rally has been broad-based, lifting metals, oil and agricultural commodities.
Among the many unusual features of the recession perhaps the most striking is the resilience of jobs market. Unemployment rates have risen, but far less than had been feared based on the experience of recent recessions.
Join me for our Spring economic update webinar on Tuesday, 30 March, 14:30–15:30 GMT. To register please visit: https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1440317&tp_key=533939db50
Join our next fortnightly COVID-19 webinar on Thursday, 11 March, at 13:00 GMT where Ian Stewart and Karen Taylor will give the latest public health and economic updates. Our guest will be Sir Howard Bernstein, strategic advisor, Deloitte and former chief executive of Manchester City Council and former head of Paid Service for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. Sir Howard will offer his perspective on the challenges and opportunities of the UK government's 'levelling up' agenda and how it might impact economic outlook for the regions and the UK.
New year, new lockdown, new vaccines. Join our webinar on 14 January at 13:00 GMT where Ian Stewart and Karen Taylor will assess the effect of the new COVID-19 variant and the roll-out of vaccines on public health and the economy in 2021. We will also be joined by Ben Perkins, head of Insight & Marketing, Consumer, Deloitte to provide analysis on the latest consumer market data.
Register here: https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1365454&tp_key=8f4d835e66&sti=mmb