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From the Wall Street Journal:

"It is the $1.7 trillion question for the U.S. economy: How long can the savings consumers built up during the pandemic keep their spending going?

"The answer: about nine to 12 more months.

"Consumers built up unprecedented savings buffers during the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to government stimulus and fewer opportunities to spend. The extra cash helped households pay down debt, buy goods like new appliances and furniture during lockdowns and take vacations once restrictions lifted. It gave businesses leeway to raise prices and hire more workers to meet stronger demand.

"Economists estimate that headed into the third quarter of this year, households still had about $1.2 trillion to $1.8 trillion in 'excess savings' - the amount above what they would have saved had there been no pandemic.

"That buffer, combined with a strong labor market and rising wages, has helped consumers continue spending in recent months, even with inflation and mortgage rates at multi-decade highs. U.S. retail sales posted their strongest gain in eight months in October.

"Nonetheless, there are also signs they are working their way through that buffer, and an end is in sight."