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The Historic Christmas Binge

The reason that store shelves are occasionally empty, as any social media hashtag trend will tell you, is that Americans are still buying an amazing amount of goods. For December 2021, Christmas was hardly canceled. The Census Bureau today reported that..

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The reason that store shelves are occasionally empty, as any social media hashtag trend will tell you, is that Americans are still buying an amazing amount of goods. For December 2021, Christmas was hardly canceled. The Census Bureau today reported that retailers during the biggest month of last year, of every year, grabbed an astoundingly huge $714 billion in overall sales.

Almost three-quarters of a trillion in a single month.

Not just the finale, though, total retail during the whole of last year was literally insane. See for yourself (one of these things is not like the others):


But this is only where the macro story begins; because of this mass of consumer demand and the price impacts it has had, while somewhat more complicated from here the analysis remains relatively straightforward anyway.

The theory had been Christmas demand got pulled forward by the very thing you see above; rather, more specifically, how the sudden buying behavior vastly favoring the purchase of goods at the expense of services contributed much, most, or even all to the logistical nightmare not just at the nation’s ports also its railroads and trucking lanes which by mid-year had scared the pants off consumers or at least retail middlemen who then rushed to make earlier buying orders if only to ensure there was sufficient capacity to feed the ruthless demand before losing the holiday deadline.

The Census data – seasonally-adjusted – does indicate this actually happened. Despite enormous sales for the season as a whole, it did end up front-loaded when compared to prior seasons. And that has implications insofar as the all-important rate of change goes.


Again, seasonally-adjusted basis, total retail sales for December 2021 were down a pretty stark 1.9% from November. Still high, still huge, but the trend is more toward fading Uncle Sam than not. Even though gasoline prices were down last month, too, and that contributed something to the monthly overall decline, retail sales excluding those registered by gasoline stations dropped even more; off 2.03% m/m.

And since CPIs have obviously accelerated with all that pre-Christmas folly, maybe jolly, putting retail sales in real terms (using the CPI) shows that the likely volume of goods has been on a steady decline (apples-to-apples) going back to April; December no different, if anything accelerating the trend.

Dating back to Peak Helicopter, real retail sales are down a very sharp 5.1%, making it an annual rate of -7.5% applied to the final two-thirds of last year.

Since retail sales remain historically elevated in every category, this -5.1% (or -7.5% annual rate) in real sales is simply the long-expected (outside the inflation narrative) reversion as the earlier helicopter effects fade further into that history, Americans start to balance their discretionary spending more toward services, and likely most important of all, what’s left is the non-artificial state of the economy (the whole labor market including what, meaning who, is left out of the unemployment rate again).

These are, of course, the very factors which have propelled the “growth scare” not just as it might be for the US, rather for a global economy that looks nothing like the American goods sector. In other words, if the one piece that had been “red hot” really does materially cool off, what is the world’s overall economic temperature going to be in 2022?

Some of that answer may already have been provided in the CPI data itself which is more and more disinflationary stepping away from US goods – in particular, beyond last October. If America’s foot came off the gas pedal just a bit, relatively speaking, since around October, this would certainly corroborate the after-October deceleration in prices.

In addition to the Census retail sales data, the Fed’s figures on industrial production also demonstrate that underlying baseline tendency. No matter how far in sales, output hasn’t come close to matching it (this along with supply bottlenecks the answer for the occasionally empty shelves). Those in the mainstream pushing the inflation narrative say this has been due to those same supply bottlenecks choking production potential, or whatever new strain of the pandemic creating a LABOR SHORTAGE!!!

According to the Fed, IP during December “unexpectedly” declined, falling 0.1% when compared to November (all data seasonally adjusted). For manufacturing, the change was -0.3%. And even though auto production (Motor Vehicle Assemblies) dipped again, manufacturing excluding autos was still down 0.2% m/m.



I don’t find the supply-problems-explain-everything theory anywhere close to comprehensive enough given how the second half of last year unfolded. With relative goods activity on the decline, retail sales particularly in real terms, even if still historically high that would have been just the outcome which likely had kept reluctant producers so reluctant all along.

If they’ve been expecting what just happened in the back half of 2021, then what just happened would hardly be a reason to ramp up production any more than necessary.

This isn’t to claim there haven’t been supply problems, or that these haven’t held back some level of production; those things have clearly hindered particularly some industries like automobiles.



What it all boils down to is how 2022 begins under a darkening cloud of widening macro suspicion, especially when compared to how 2021 had. In other words, nothing here, neither retail sales nor industrial production, disprove the growth scare.

On the contrary, each data set only adds more to that same set of misgivings. Christmas was fantastic for retailers, and consumers, too, yet the downswing is very clear anyway and unlike early 2021 there is no helicopter or whatever else waiting early in 2022 to reverse it. (Don’t hold your breath for outside help from Xi, either.)

Demand in the US for goods has absolutely outpaced the supply, boom, CPI. Yet, even as supply curiously does adjust if slowly, what happens as demand doesn’t continue at the same relatively high rate? If it works out this way, “inflation” begins to disappear from goods in more the same way it already seems to have dissipated from services (and elsewhere around the world).



It’s not a question the FOMC will be wrestling with given how much they’ve boxed their own policies in by blatantly switching inflation sides and being so outspoken doing it. Taper and rate hikes for an economy that’s losing steam in the US, and what further knock-on effects those might have outside the country (we’ll get a pretty big clue Sunday night when the Chinese report their Big Three economic data along with Q4 GDP; early guesses are not encouraging, and those get made by inflation-ists).

There’s really not any conundrum; just an unwillingness to concede the possibility the justifications for taper and rate hikes are, yet again, in, of, and for the wrong economic situation.





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Economics

Only 14% of Consumers with Federal Student Loans on Pause Can Afford Payments, ScoreSense Survey Finds 62% of survey respondents say they are delaying major life purchases

Only 14% of Consumers with Federal Student Loans on Pause Can Afford Payments, ScoreSense Survey Finds 62% of survey respondents say they are delaying major life purchases
PR Newswire
DALLAS, Aug. 18, 2022

DALLAS , Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A s…

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Only 14% of Consumers with Federal Student Loans on Pause Can Afford Payments, ScoreSense Survey Finds 62% of survey respondents say they are delaying major life purchases

PR Newswire

DALLAS , Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey of consumers with federal student loans on pause, which went into effect during the COVID-19 pandemic, reveals that only 14% of respondents say they can afford the payments with no issues when the forbearance period ends, according to a consumer survey by ScoreSense®, a credit score monitoring product. The survey also revealed that 42% of respondents aren't sure how they will add loan payments back into their budget. The most recent extension to the payment pause, which began in March 2020, continues to August 31, 2022, with payments currently scheduled to restart in September.

18% of survey respondents say they will need to cut budgets or rely on family to help to resume loan payments.

The survey, focused on the resumption of federal student loan payments and implications, included these highlights:

•       To resume payments, 18% of survey respondents say they will need to cut their budgets or rely on family to help to add these loan payments back into their budgets. About one of four respondents between the ages of 18-34 will need help from family members to help with student loans.

  • During the pause, nearly 25% of respondents used their money to pay off debts/loans. Loan holders between 18-34 in age indicated they were more likely to invest the money compared to the older age groups.
  • The resumption of payments will delay major life events for some loan holders, including the purchase of a home (30% of respondents) or having a child (18% of respondents).
  • Loan holders plan to cut expenses to make payments, including groceries (25% of respondents) and children's activities (19% of respondents).

"Unfortunately, we're seeing the perfect storm of economic stress on households where higher prices, interest rates, property assessments, and more is making it very difficult for many people to live within their means. For many student loan holders, making payments in 2020 was much easier than it will be when they resume," said Carlos Medina, senior vice president at One Technologies, LLC., which offers ScoreSense.

ScoreSense serves as a one-stop digital resource where consumers can access credit scores and reports from all three main credit bureaus—TransUnion®, Equifax®, and Experian®—and understand what is most affecting their credit.

About One Technologies

One Technologies, LLC, harnesses the power of technology, analytics, and its people to create solutions that empower consumers to make more informed decisions about their financial lives. The firm's consumer credit products include ScoreSense®, which enables members to seamlessly access, interact with, and understand their credit profiles from all three main bureaus using a single application. The ScoreSense platform is continually updated to give members deeper insights, personalized tools and one-on-one customer care support that can help them make the most sense of their credit. One Technologies is headquartered in Dallas and was established in October 2000. For more information, please visit onetechnologies.net.

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SOURCE ScoreSense

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Economics

Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge
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NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The “Legal Services Market” report has been added to SpendEdge’s…

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Legal Services Sourcing and Procurement Market by 2025| COVID-19 Impact & Recovery Analysis | SpendEdge

PR Newswire

NEW YORK, Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The "Legal Services Market" report has been added to SpendEdge's library which is trusted by more than 100 CPOs and 500 category managers who use our insights daily.

The Legal Services market is poised to grow by USD 187.38 Billion, progressing at a CAGR of almost 3.64% during the forecast period

https://spendedge.com/sample-report/process-instrumentation-sourcing-and-procurement-intelligence-report

Key Highlights Offered in the Report:

  • Information on how to identify strategic and tactical negotiation levels that will help achieve the best prices.
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Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment.

Some of the Top Legal Services suppliers listed in this report:

This Legal Services procurement intelligence report has enlisted the top suppliers and their cost structures, SLA terms, best selection criteria, and negotiation strategies.

  • Latham and Watkins
  • Allen and Overy
  • Hogan Lovells

Fetch actionable market insights on the post-COVID-19 impact on each product and service segment:

https://spendedge.com/sample-report/process-instrumentation-sourcing-and-procurement-intelligence-report

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  1. Asset Recovery Services - Forecast and AnalysisThe asset recovery services will grow at a CAGR of 9.49% during 2021-2025. Asia Asset Recovery Pte Ltd., TES-Amm Singapore Pte Ltd., and Iron Mountain Inc. are among the prominent suppliers in the asset recovery services market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  2. Vulnerability Management Sourcing and Procurement ReportVulnerability Management Procurement Market, prices will increase by 4%-6% during the forecast period and suppliers will have moderate bargaining power in this market. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.
  3. Business Process Outsourcing Services- Sourcing and Procurement Intelligence ReportThis report offers key advisory and intelligence to help buyers identify and shortlist the most suitable suppliers for their Legal Services. Click the above link to download the free sample of this report.

To access the definite purchasing guide on the Legal Services that answers all your key questions on price trends and analysis:

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  • Which pricing models offer the most rewarding opportunities?

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Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Market Insights
  • Category Pricing Insights
  • Cost-saving Opportunities
  • Best Practices
  • Category Ecosystem
  • Category Management Strategy
  • Category Management Enablers
  • Suppliers Selection
  • Suppliers under Coverage
  • US Market Insights
  • Category scope
  • Appendix

About SpendEdge:

SpendEdge shares your passion for driving sourcing and procurement excellence. We are the preferred procurement market intelligence partner for 120+ Fortune 500 firms and other leading companies across numerous industries. Our strength lies in delivering robust, real-time procurement market intelligence reports and solutions.

Contacts:

SpendEdge
Anirban Choudhury
Marketing Manager
Ph No:
+1 (872) 206-9340
https://www.spendedge.com/contact-us

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SOURCE SpendEdge

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Economics

Latest Eastbridge report sees continued growth in voluntary market

Latest Eastbridge report sees continued growth in voluntary market
PR Newswire
AVON, Conn., Aug. 18, 2022

Inflation could slow rather than stop industry bounce-back
AVON, Conn., Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The voluntary benefits market will likel…

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Latest Eastbridge report sees continued growth in voluntary market

PR Newswire

Inflation could slow rather than stop industry bounce-back

AVON, Conn., Aug. 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The voluntary benefits market will likely continue its trend of healthy sales growth for the next several years, according to a new report from Eastbridge Consulting Group. However, lingering concerns about the impact of inflation could hold growth well below 2021's strong double-digit results.

Eastbridge's Forecasting Voluntary Sales Spotlight™ Report analyzes the current sales environment and projects future sales potential in the voluntary market. It offers several different scenarios dependent on the industry's rate of recovery from the pandemic, inflation and other factors based on Eastbridge' longstanding expertise in the industry. The report is designed to help carriers develop their own predictions for future opportunities, update their business plans and determine what investments to make.

Despite the uncertain economy, the report shows continued opportunity for carriers and producers in the voluntary market.

"After more than two decades of near-continuous growth, the voluntary benefits market is still only half tapped," said Nick Rockwell, Eastbridge president. "Even during previous economic downturns, we've seen strong demand and need for the added protection voluntary benefits provide employees."

About 54 million employees work in businesses that have yet to offer them voluntary benefits, and another 14 million employees have access to voluntary benefits at work but haven't yet purchased coverage. The continuing move away from employer-funded benefits also could help fuel voluntary growth, the report states.

Information about purchasing the Forecasting Voluntary Sales Spotlight™ Report is available on Eastbridge's website. Those interested can email info@eastbridge.com or call (860) 676-9633. 

About Eastbridge Consulting Group
Eastbridge Consulting Group, Inc. is a marketing advisory firm serving companies focused on the voluntary/worksite benefits market in the United States and Canada.

CONTACT: Ginger Bates
EMAIL: gbates@eastbridge.com

View original content to download multimedia:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/latest-eastbridge-report-sees-continued-growth-in-voluntary-market-301607901.html

SOURCE Eastbridge Consulting Group

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