BEING CAUTIOUS - The personal savings rate in the US was a record 33.8% in April 2020 as Americans reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. The personal savings rate in the US was 9.4% in June 2021. Before the pandemic, the personal savings rate was above 10% during just 1 month since 1993. The personal savings rate is defined as “savings” (i.e., after-tax income less consumption spending) divided by after-tax income (source: Department of Commerce).
HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS - The number of American workers in “leisure and hospitality” was 16.3 million as of 2/29/20, dropped to 8.6 million as of 4/30/20, and now has rebounded to 15.8 million as of 7/31/21 (source: Department of Labor).
LOSING GROUND - Wages and salaries of all “civilian workers,” defined as workers in the private sector along with workers for state and local governments (but not federal government workers), increased by +3.2% on a year-over-year basis as of 6/30/21. Inflation, as measured by the “Consumer Price Index” (CPI), was up +5.4% over the same 12-month period (source: Bureau of Labor Statistics).
A LOT OF HELP WANTED - American employers had 10.1 million job openings as of 6/30/21, an all-time record for an employment statistic that has been tracked by our government since December 2000. Domestic employers had 6.9 million job openings as of 2/29/20 at the beginning of the global pandemic (source: Department of Labor).
WILL IT BE ABOVE AVERAGE? - The average change that American homeowners are anticipating in the value of their primary residences over the upcoming 12-months is a gain of +5.1%, more than the actual gain of +4.1% per year that has been achieved over the last 20-years through 4/30/21 (source: July 2021 Survey of Consumer Expectations Housing Survey, Federal Housing Finance Agency).
WORLD’S BIGGEST - The size of the US economy was $22.7 trillion as of 6/30/21. 10 years ago (6/30/11), the size of the US economy was $15.6 trillion. 20 years ago (6/30/01), the size of the US economy was $10.6 trillion. 30 years ago (6/30/91), the size of the US economy was $6.1 trillion (source: Bureau of Economic Analysis).
OPTIONS? - 39% of US small businesses say they experienced domestic supplier disruptions during July 2021, impacting their ability to provide goods and services to their customers (source: Census Bureau).
MOVE HERE - 44 US cities are currently offering cash incentives to attract workers to move to their cities, including Augusta, ME ($15,660), Stillwater, OK ($7,500) and French Lick, IN ($5,000) (source: MakeMyMove.com).
AT THE PUMP - The national average price of gasoline was $3.19 a gallon as of 8/13/21, up from $2.25 as of 12/31/20. The last year that ended with gas at $3 a gallon or above was 2013 or 8 years ago (source: AAA).
ON FIRE - 6 of the 7 largest wildfires in the history of California have occurred since August 2020, including the ongoing Dixie Fire which began in July 2021. The Dixie Fire is already the 2nd largest in the state’s history, having burned more than 510,000 acres (source: Cal Fire).
MONTHLY BENEFIT - 54 million Americans receive monthly Social Security retirement benefits, including retired workers, dependents of retired workers, and survivors of deceased workers. 42 million Americans receive monthly assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), aka “food stamps” (source: SNAP).
AVERAGE PER MONTH - The average Social Security retirement benefit is $1,503 per month. The average “food stamp” benefit (SNAP) is $157 per month per person (source: BTN Research).
SKIP THE PUMP - There are 43,600 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the USA. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate allocates $7.5 billion for additional charging stations (source: DOE).
SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION - The Chinese port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, the 3rd busiest port in the world, was forced to partially shut down on 8/11/21 as a result of a coronavirus outbreak. By Wednesday 8/18/21, the 8th shutdown day, 80 ships containing a total of 393,650 20-foot containers were sitting idle in the water waiting for the port to reopen (source: VesselsValue).