Latest US Economic Trends

Latest US Economic Trends

Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic has slowed down economic growth in the United States and globally. In 2020, business activities countrywide slowed down due to the lockdown measures. Notably, the country's GDP dropped by more than 8%, which has been the country's worst, dating back to 1945. According to experts, unemployment rates will increase by as much as 50% this year as the economy continues to recover. As the vaccine is released into the market, these numbers could rise phenomenally.

Lower interest rates

The government has put in place interest caps to ensure loan interest rates remain low and accessible to businesses to spur economic activity. The Federal Open Market Committee stipulated that the interest rates' capping will stay at 1%, and this will last- at least- until 2023 until the country's inflation rates hit 2%. Further, through quantitative easing, the government announced US treasury bonds purchasing to spur more lending and investment activities around the country.

Higher Oil and Gas prices in the country

Crude oil and gas prices will increase by $6 to $49 per barrel as compared to 2020 prices. Statistics from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) suggest that, as the economy reopens and economic activity begins to spur, the oil demand will rise significantly. This demand might contribute to a considerable price rise. Generally, due to the pandemic, commuting to work may have reduced as more people embraced working from home. However, demand for fuel in the aviation industry will push this demand upwards, with expected levels getting significantly higher in 2021 compared to 2020.

Ecommerce growth

Ecommerce growth is expected to increase this year-the pandemic has made this increase possible. Projections show that about 16% of the goods are bought online from e-commerce sites such as Amazon and Alibaba. Stores' sales have, on the other hand, experienced a decline in sales, as more people have become dependent on online shopping. Also, online grocery shopping experienced a 50% growth, and this has been the most significant jump in any sector in the consumer goods category. More people will continue to use online e-commerce platforms this year, which will provide jobs for cadres like delivery drivers.

Developed Healthcare

The healthcare industry has proved to be critical, especially with the Covid-19 pandemic, which-ironically- exposed the industry's weakness. With the vaccine hitting the market soon, the healthcare industry will have to get streamlined to distribute this vaccine effectively. Further, the pharmaceutical industry will play an essential role in the success or failure of this vaccine. Contingent plans will have to be in place to ensure the healthcare industry can handle the ongoing pandemic while ensuring the new vaccine gets administered to citizens.

Increased inflation Levels

Some analysts expect inflation in the country will rise, with others predicting a 2% high in the coming months. The pandemic has significantly slowed business activity- this contributes to the expected high inflation rate. Most businesses slowed down in 2020, and others completely closed due to low demand. The hospitality industry got hit the most, with hotel prices falling by over 10% and airline prices falling by a whopping 25%.

Lockdown measures, if upheld, would make the coming months more challenging, and inflation will rise as commodity prices continue to grow. Businesses will have to raise their prices, even as the vaccine presents an opportunity for the country to reopen fully. The fiscal stimulus might-ultimately- lead to higher inflation, as the dollar's stability takes a hit.

Rethinking of the manufacturing industry

The pandemic has made many industries rethink how they operate, and the manufacturing industry is no different. The lockdown crippled the manufacturing industry. Why? It's mostly labor-intensive. Manufacturing firms now have to rethink ways to implement technology to enhance reliability and efficiency. Robotics and computer-aided designs will-likely-begin to be more complemented by businesses.

Collaborations between manufacturing firms and technological entities should become a new norm, as companies realize how labor-intensive designs can be fatal, especially in situations like the ongoing pandemic. Also, an increase in the demand for products and services has made the manufacturing industry experience some growth. This growth can be useful for the industrial development momentum. Notably, human resource restructuring is now a huge factor in minimizing costs as many businesses experienced massive losses due to the pandemic.

US Finances and Covid-19

US Finances and Covid-19

While coronavirus greatly affected the US as a nation, the country's financial sector was equally hit. For instance, the stock market experienced high volatility periods, with stocks experiencing peaks that caused them to be overvalued by more than 58% as of February last year. It continued to experience lows of over 30% by the beginning of 2020. This volatility made it hard for many companies to survive, especially small businesses. The pandemic also resulted in more people making money off cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, which has steadily risen during the pandemic.

As time moves, cryptocurrencies have become more popular- more businesses have embraced them as a payment method. Think of it- the value of Bitcoin has been positively unaffected by Covid-19; this has made it a safe financial bet. Further, more people in the US have embraced bitcoin as a valuable investment, and business moguls such as Elon Musk have embraced the use of this currency. Also, Bitcoin's easy liquidity has made it a haven for people to profit, especially with the effects of unemployment.

In 2020, unemployment levels reached an all-time high; obviously, this was due to the pandemic. Many people lost a source of income, prompting the government to provide fiscal stimulus programs to enable citizens to survive during the pandemic. This action enabled economic activity to continue during the pandemic, even though experts expected the economy to face higher inflation levels -notwithstanding the stimulus programs.

Further, consumer spending fell by over 7%, as more people lacked the finances to have significant purchasing power. Due to this reduced spending power, many businesses closed down as they lacked customers. Countrywide lockdowns resulted in the decline of shopping malls and stores. Interestingly, in the months after March 2020, the number of online shoppers increased as more people relied on e-commerce stores to acquire products and services.

Currently, most businesses are taking loans to facilitate or revive the fortunes that suffered due to the pandemic. Also, banks' loan interest rates have been capped to ensure small businesses fully restore their operations using such loans. Eventually this would spur significant activity. Many businesses' financial expenditures are restricted, with leading enterprises looking for ways to save money. Cutting down costs is the order of the day as many companies are actively looking for ways to streamline their services.

Consider this: News of the new vaccine has provided a much-needed impetus to the country's economic activity. More businesses are now opening back up in anticipation of the return of normalcy to the business world. Ultimately, this means more money supply in the national economy. Generally, customers must revert to physical store purchases- this was impossible during the recent lockdowns. Employment levels will-likely- begin to spike up, enabling people to have income sources that were lost. Analysts expect household spending power to be on a steady rise in the coming months as the economy gradually opens. However, the price of this vaccine will primarily determine whether economic activity spurs back or not. Naturally, pharmaceutical companies- and others- are determined to make their profits- this will impact how the businesses thrive.

What about the manufacturing and production sectors? These were massively hit by the pandemic. Manufacturing declined sharply after March 2020, which meant the loss of many jobs. Of course, loss of employment often results in a general lack of financial power. This decline resulted in businesses slowing down due to an unusual lack of economic power. In the post-2020 period, many manufacturing businesses had to evaluate their business operations- the pandemic had graphically demonstrated how labor-intensive structures could have massive downsides. However, financial investments will continue to be crucial for all businesses that wish to invest in technological improvements and operations like computer-aided machinery, robotics, and Artificial Intelligence deployment (AI).

Ironically, during the pandemic, many people's saving ability-countrywide-improved significantly, up to 33%. Actually, many people spent less of their income during this period than they usually would. Analysts attributed the high savings rate is the lockdowns. Further, many realized they did not need lots of goods and services that they previously thought were indispensable. Also, due to the loss of jobs countrywide, most people became more stringent with their spending. Such income inequalities contributed to the high savings rate. Why, many low-income people have had to ensure they had a way to cover their bills.

Positive News for US Jobs in 2021

Positive News for US Jobs in 2021

The US job market certainly took a significant hit due to the pandemic- millions of people lost their jobs. Fast-forward to 2021; the economy is opening up gradually, and activities are picking up; yes, there is hope for the nation's future. However, businesses have to rethink their human resource structures; of course, this comes at employees' expense. As a glad tiding, unemployment rates have fallen by over 6.3% (according to data from the labor department). More people are getting employed, and jobs lost during the pandemic are slowly but surely coming back.

While people all over the country are returning to work, news of the incoming Covid-19 vaccine has been one of the most significant boosts to the lowered unemployment rates. Sectors such as education have experienced more employment- over 40,000 people have gained jobs in the industry. Businesses are now reopening, and this provides a boost for the employment numbers.

Ironically, the e-commerce industry has experienced a significant boost even during the Covid-19 pandemic. E-commerce activities grew massively during the pandemic to a ten-year high of 33%. This growth has provided job opportunities in the sector, and experts predict it will not slow down anytime soon. With the development of technology, more people will adopt online shopping for their daily activities, and this will be incredibly beneficial for job creation in the e-commerce sector.

The healthcare industry experienced a lot of difficulties in 2020, especially with the pandemic. Today, however, there is a great demand for healthcare workers. Data from the bureau of labor statistics indicate that healthcare industry jobs will experience an over 14% growth. Battling the pandemic left the industry with a vast gap that needs filling. Further, there is a need for research and development professionals in the medical industry, even as the Covid-19 vaccine hits the market. Scientific experts and similar scholars will be crucial in administering and overseeing the dispensation of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Technological innovation has become a crucial part of businesses, and this presents a robust job climate. Also, as more enterprises rethink their business strategies, digitizing various business processes has become the norm. More people will have to adapt to this new normal, especially as the country continues to put in measures to fight the ongoing pandemic. Working from home is now standard, and this will present more job opportunities for people, unlike the traditional office setup. Sectors such as finance will-likely- provide more remote jobs as the year progresses.

In 2021 and beyond, remuneration for jobs will be standardized since those working at the office or remotely will be doing the same load of worth. Indeed, remote jobs have enabled businesses to pay employees remotely- the same way they would pay them traditionally. Also, as more companies adopt remote working, the workforce will easily access more jobs. Freelancers- the so-called digital nomads, can now get work from remote companies and get well compensated for their services.

Think of it: Savings by Americans has been at an all-time high, with data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis showing that saving rates are at an all-time high of over 30%. Such savings have enabled many Americans to eke out a living in sectors like the stock market. Moreover, cryptocurrency trading has become a booming business, with currencies such as Bitcoin hitting high levels. More people have begun to engage in financial trades; this was notable during the recent GameStop shares trading. Yes, more people are now creating jobs for themselves.

Ultimately, the retail sector has begun picking up, with data showing that retail sales during January experienced a 5.3% increase. The trajectory will likely continue in the coming months. True, the US government's stimulus strategy may have played a massive role in this spike; well, this is good news for America's job market. The retail industry provides lots of jobs for the economy, and- as more customers begin to spend their cash- this will significantly boost the country's job climate. Also, restaurants have gradually resumed services; this means more jobs for the economy. Consumer spending has provided a much-needed shot in the arm for the job market, and it is expected this job increase will continue as the country gradually reopens.

US Bank Deposits Go Up to Hit Record

US Bank Deposits Go Up to Hit Record

Good News: US Bank Deposits Go Up 21.3% to Hit a Record &16.2 Trillion

In the wake of the on-going pandemic and its devastating consequences in the US, there seems to be good news sweeping across the nation- bank deposits are steadily going up, and things are slowly stabilizing. Americans' total bank deposits increased to almost $16.2 trillion (a 21.3% increase compared to the previous year). Most economic analysts are upbeat the US economic metrics are finally getting positive. Is this surprising?

Think of it: In recent weeks, going up to January 2020, the numbers for building permits, existing home sales, and housing stats got more robust. In fact, the estimates for manufacturing and other services indicate an impressive expansion far above the projections by Wall Street gurus.

And the glad tidings don't end there- the overall measures of business activities drawn from different regional outposts mostly point to promising activity. The situation is far better than what many thought would be the case. Admittedly, while unemployment levels in the US are still higher than what's generally acceptable, the claims for unemployment or joblessness (submitted to government agencies) are now lower than what most analysts expected. Of course, we cannot expect the economy to come full circle just yet. Yes, we can only hope this will happen once the government cares entirely for the most vulnerable.

But the big question is: How can the government accurately target the most vulnerable and impacted people? Think of this: Almost 500,000 people lost their jobs in December 2020. At present, almost 16 million people are sustained by benefits given by the government to the unemployed. As noted, the number of those still dependent on such tickets has gone down significantly; regardless, millions of Americans will continue to rely on multiple agencies for daily survival- and this will go on for quite a while.

But- as they say, behind every cloud is a silver lining. As of January 2021, the rest of the US economy seemed to be getting more vibrant by the day. Considering that the most affected citizens have benefitted from two separate government stimulus packages worth over $3 trillion, is it surprising? As a result, many US households have witnessed a significant strengthening of their financial and economic prospects. These dynamics cannot be taken for granted. The country now enjoys hitherto unprecedented levels of low-interest rates and bond-buying worth trillions of dollars. Yes, these factors characterize a new degree of Federal Reserve monetary goosing.

Further, to return the economy back on track, there has been an unusual array of lending programs that aim to return the economy to the levels that existed before the coronavirus struck. Interestingly, the Fed is now purchasing bonds at a closer pace- approaching $1.5 trillion each year. What does this say about the ordinary American's overall economic situation? It says this: Things are getting better and becoming more promising as the days pass.

Consider the following data: Between January- February 2021, Americans' bank deposits went up to almost $16.2 trillion. This represents a 21.3% increase compared to what the situation was just a year ago. In fact, many institutions of Wall Street are witnessing unexpected record highs. Of the promising bank deposits, we have some $1.4 trillion in what is referred to as "excess savings" by BofA; these are likely to rise to $1.6 trillion as the government continues to distribute more checks from the earlier $900 billion stimulus package passed by Congress.

Further, according to the Bank of America Global Research, this is not all: There's a general surge in spending. Moreover, debit and credit card expenditures have gone up by 22% over the year (up to January 16, 2021) for low-income individuals who benefited from the last round of stimulus payments. Interestingly, according to the bank source, "most US households have more cash now than they've ever had. Yes, they're extraordinarily cash-rich." The Pantheon Macroeconomics chief economist Ian Shepherdson recently said this in a webinar session: "Thousands of US households now have a ready war chest that they're ready to spend as soon as possible. Once the Covid fear is effectively gone, we can assume more people will be ready to spend as much as they can."

According to Shepherdson, the rate of inflation is likely to accelerate. This would force the Fed to reconsider its overly-accommodative policies. Eventually, they'll be forced to tighten things much sooner than the market expected.