March 16, 2021—Inflation is on the minds and lips of everyone these days, and the just-signed stimulus package is increasing those concerns. Vaccine deployment is picking up, COVID-19 cases are down, spending is accelerating, and the nation is clamoring to enjoy the outdoors and one another in a way we haven’t in a full year. With the passage and signing of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) last week, we have growing conviction of strong economic growth in 2021.
As we survey the U.S. economy, we see pandemic-induced pain that, did we not know better, could easily obscure the renaissance we foresee later this year. The labor market remains severely impaired, with the total number of Americans holding down full-time jobs 7% from the preCOVID-19 peak. Small businesses continue to shutter at historic rates. Interest rates have spiked higher. And consumer savings has reached record levels while the spending rebound has stalled.
February 12, 2021—What a difference a few weeks can make. In mid-January after announcing his stimulus plan, there seemed to be a 50/50 chance of President Biden seeking bipartisanship in getting 10 Republican Senators on board, or the (allegedly) more challenging route of budget reconciliation, which only requires 50 votes but puts limits on the actions that can be taken.