The pandemic has had a significant impact on the timing of holiday shopping, as evidenced by U.S. retail sales falling for the first time since March. Senior Economist Robert Spendlove believes that this shift in the timing of holiday shopping is reflective of the economy still being affected by the pandemic. While the pandemic may be over, we are still dealing with its aftermath.
Spendlove draws a comparison between the pandemic and a rock being thrown into a lake- with the ripple effects of the impact still being felt. Despite months-early holiday shopping being more common during the height of the pandemic, with last-minute shopping and picking up of gifts not being an option, Spending believes that the return to a more traditional timeline this year is a good sign. With improvements being observed in employment data, inflation, and retail spending, it seems like we are returning to a state of normalcy. However, with so much uncertainty surrounding us, it is yet to be achieved that elusive soft landing that everyone hopes for.
With Thanksgiving approaching and shopping predicted to pick back up after it, it appears that we are on track towards achieving economic normalcy once again. Overall, Spendlove’s analysis suggests that while we have come far from where we were during the height of the pandemic, there is still work to be done before we can truly say our economy has fully recovered.