|Now is a good time to take stock of where the economy stands overall, as well as what is going on with the three main issues we have been watching: inflation; supply chain issues; and workforce shortages.
- Growth in 2021 Q4 and 2022 Q1 looks strong: We estimate growth of between 6.5% and 7% for the fourth quarter of 2021 and over 4% for the first quarter of 2022.
- Inflation remains high: The broadest measure of consumer prices rose 6.8% in November – the largest increase since June 1982. Hopefully we see some easing in these figures in December, but even with some decline they will be too high
- Supply chain still backed up: Boats waiting to be unloaded at the LA and Long Beach ports averaged 84 in December. That is up from 70 in November. So things are getting worse. This will continue to constrain growth.
- Workers still hard to come by: Job openings data for the end of November comes out tomorrow. In October, there were more than 11 million job openings and less than 8.5 million available workers. As long as this unprecedented gap remains, it will slow the economy, make it harder to repair the supply chain, and put upward pressure on inflation.
—Curtis Dubay, Senior Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce