U.S. Outlook: More signs of inflation and growth

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Survey data on consumer and business confidence has soared since the November election, but the question on economists’ minds is: Will the hard, non-survey economic data follow to support this optimism?

Graph showing year-over-year growth in holiday sales.A new batch of hard economic data for December paints a positive picture of U.S. economic growth.

For more on these developments, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on Jan. 20.

Key observations:
  • For the November and December period, total retail sales increased 4.0% compared to a year ago.
  • December’s retail sales gains were led by autos, gasoline stations, and non-store retailers (i.e., Amazon).
  • For the first time in this expansion, more consumer spending is coming with coincident doses of rising prices and rising credit-card balances.
  • Rising inflation is likely on the Fed’s radar now and could mean a faster pace of rate hikes in 2017 than the market currently has priced in.

Click here to read my full report.

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