Week 43

Covid-19 Economic Data Tracker

October 29, 2021

Download the entire weekly edition to view timely charts and data providing a comprehensive picture of how the pandemic affects our economic outlook.

Trend watch and what's new this week

U.S virus trends continue to improve as new cases, hospitalizations, and death rates decrease (slide 3). Still, there are regional U.S. hotspots, particularly in colder states (slide 7). Also, new cases among younger school-aged children ticked higher in the past week, though trends for older children have stabilized (slide 8). We’re awaiting an expansion of vaccines for younger children (ages 5-11), which is expected in the next week.

Globally, Russia and Ukraine are currently experiencing COVID-19 surges. We updated the chart of new cases in the United Kingdom (slide 9), which appear to be improving.

This week, we revisit massive port traffic tsunami (slide 10). While there’s been a lot of attention on the bottlenecks at U.S. ports, causing goods to be delayed, the top 5 U.S. ports have handled nearly 16% more cargo year-to-date compared to 2019.

Lastly, we show vaccine hesitancy, which appears to be waning (slide 11). Yet, roughly one quarter of Americans unwilling to get the shot, which may be driving some of the motivation for vaccine mandates.

Bottom line

The stronger economic data continues to roll in after the delta variant receded. The most recent increases were September new and existing home sales, and personal spending, along with several regional manufacturing surveys.

Yet, consumer confidence remains sour based on several sentiment surveys. Most appear to be weighed down by inflation concerns and worries about government policies, including possible tax increases.

On the inflation front, we’ve repeatedly highlighted the ongoing supply chain problems and transportation bottlenecks. Higher shipping costs, due to increased fuel prices, have also contributed. Those challenges hamper overall growth and will likely persist for some time.

More importantly, we’ve heard very little about weakening demand. On the contrary, most complaints have centered on “too much” demand for their capacity, constrained by supply chain bottlenecks or insufficient labor, or both. Either way, that’s not a recipe for the stagnant growth many investors currently fear. In fact, we’re likely to see elevated growth extended for a few years.

 

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