About the Author

Rhea Thomas

Senior Economist

Rhea is a Senior Economist at Wilmington Trust, responsible for monitoring and analyzing economic developments in domestic and international economies.

Prior to joining Wilmington Trust, Rhea served as Vice President in Foreign Exchange Sales at Lehman Brothers, where she provided primary sales coverage to institutional clients. Earlier in her career, she focused on foreign exchange research, where she helped to build models and write publications to explain currency market movements and trade ideas.

Rhea holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Studies with Distinction from Yale University.


By the Author

Federal Reserve: Taking away the Punch Bowl to Sober Up Inflationary Pressure

Rhea Thomas |
Wilmington Wire
Dollar currency growth concept with upward arrows on charts and coins background.

March 18, 2022—William McChesney Martin Jr., former Federal Reserve (Fed) chair from 1951–1970, is credited with the now-famous “punchbowl” analogy, referring to the Fed as “the chaperone who has ordered the punch bowl removed just when the party was really warming up.”1   Today, the Fed finds itself in the position of taking away the punchbowl again, but in the midst of a party that has been raging, rather than just warming up.

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Inflation

Luke Tilley and Rhea Thomas |
Investment Management
Dollar currency growth concept with upward arrows on charts and coins background.

May 13, 2022Topics shared in this publication are:U.S. inflation is at the highest in four decades due to COVID-19 induced spending on goods, supply chain issues, fiscal stimulus from the government and very accommodative monetary policy from the Federal Reserve.We expect a deceleration in inflation in 2022, due to several factors. They include reduced consumer savings, low consumer sentiment, slower demand for housing as a result of declining affordabilty, as well as softening wage pressures.

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Labor Market

Luke Tilley and Rhea Thomas |
Investment Management
Global communication network concept. Worldwide business. Human resources.

May 9, 2022Topics shared in this publication are:Job growth remains very strong, above 500,000 over the past 6 months. The leisure & hospitality sector remains at the deepest deficit relative to pre-pandemic but has also made the most gains recently.Labor force participation has improved notably in 2022, supporting job growth and easing some of the concerns of labor shortages.Businesses indicate demand for labor remains strong but may be plateauing.

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A High Wire Act in Congress, With All Eyes on the (Debt) Ceiling

Rhea Thomas |
Wilmington Wire
Highline walker balancing on the rope concept of risk taking and challenge

September 23, 2021Debt ceiling negotiations in Congress have returned to the spotlight, as they do every few years. Current estimates suggest the U.S. Treasury will be unable to meet its payment obligations starting between mid-October to early November.Markets are watching closely because failure on the part of Congress to raise or suspend the debt ceiling ahead of that deadline could raise the risk of the U.S. Treasury defaulting on its debt, which would be an unprecedented event.

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Strong Labor Market Could Bring Fed Hikes Earlier

Luke Tilley and Rhea Thomas |
Wilmington Wire
Panoramic image of the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Washington DC, USA.

August 9, 2021—Last week’s jobs report was strong for the second month in a row and immediately prompted questions about how it may affect the Federal Reserve’s dovish posture. With 1.9 million combined jobs added in June and July, gross domestic product (GDP) surpassing the pre-pandemic peak in 2Q 2021, and inflation at the highest in decades, it’s natural to think the Fed would normalize policy soon.

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