Trend watch and what's new this week
U.S virus trends continue to improve nationally (slide 3). With colder weather, however, COVID-19 seasonality is increasing as more people are spending more time indoors. New infections are on the rise in the Midwest (slide 7). Yet, new cases for school-aged children stabilized nationally after ticking upward in the prior week (slide 8).
Germany is the latest European hotspot (slide 9), where cases have jumped. Roughly two thirds of Germans are fully vaccinated, similar to the U.S., but more than 10 percentage points below most of the rest of Europe. Cases in the United Kingdom appear to be receding, but overall levels have been roughly the same since the summer.
This week, we revisit rental payments for apartments (slide 10). The results remain somewhat mixed, though there are wide disparities by region.
Lastly, we show that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, illustrated by new cases and deaths for vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans (slide 11).
We are seeing what appears to be typical seasonality in generally reduced travel activity, including air travel, hotel occupancy, and some of the restaurant data. But overall economic activity continues to reaccelerate following the delta variant, including staffing, manufacturing gauges, and freight volumes.
However, examples abound on the inflation front. Two key inflation gauges for October continued to run hot, driven by higher energy costs. Increased fuel prices are contributing to higher shipping costs.
We’ve repeatedly highlighted the ongoing supply chain problems and transportation bottlenecks. Unfortunately, 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 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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