The New York Times writes that a US Department of Commerce report on Friday showed that consumer spending during December dropped, with retail sales declining 0.7 percent.
The decline - the third month in a row during which spending dropped - reflected an economy that continues to stall and a pandemic that continues to affect consume behavior.
According to the Times, "The drop was widespread across many categories, including electronics, autos, and food and beverage stores, which had been areas of strong spending last spring and summer but declined toward the end of the year. Spending at restaurants in December was down again amid a rise in new cases and closures.
"The decline most likely also reflects how retailers’ strategies of offering holiday deals early in the fall spread out the holiday shopping season across months, and may have dampened sales closer to Christmas."
- KC's View:
If reports about the new coronavirus variant - said to be more contagious, though not more fatal - are accurate, then it seems unlikely that we're going to emerge from this tunnel anytime soon.
I do tend to agree with the folks who argue that once we can get the pandemic behind us - through smart public health policy, intelligent individual behavior and widespread levels of vaccinations - we could be in for a remarkable period of growth, and an enormous amount of pent up demand is let loose.
We just have to get there.