The Atlantis Report
Premiered May 29, 2021
Although President Biden on Friday painted a rosy picture of America’s economic rebound and claimed he beats all other presidents for job creation during their first three months in office.
Two things should concern us. First, the weakness of the recovery in the middle of the largest fiscal and monetary stimulus seen in decades, and second, the short and diminishing effect of these programs.
The University of Michigan consumer confidence index fell to 82.8 in May, from 88.3 in April. More importantly, the current conditions index slumped to 90.8, from 97.2 and the expectations index declined to 77.6, from 82.7.
Hard data also questions the strength of the recovery. April retail sales were flat, with clothing down 5.1 percent, general merchandise store sales fell 4.9 percent, leisure and sporting goods were down 3.6 percent, with food and drink services up just by 3 percent.
United States industrial production was also almost flat in April, rising just 0.4 percent month on month in April, pushed by a 4 percent slump in motor vehicle production. You may think this is not that bad until you see that industrial capacity utilization came in at 74.7 percent in April, significantly below the prepandemic levels.
Employment also questions the “strong recovery” thesis. Nonfarm employment is still down 8.2 million, or 5.4 percent, from prepandemic levels, yet gross domestic product is likely to show a full recovery in the second quarter.
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