Decoding the Covid economy contradiction on Thanksgiving

There is a lot of concern about social, political and health issues. Cases of Covid-19 are up in most states, again suggesting that the virus is here to stay. A series of court cases have proven that the national reckoning of race issues is as complex and unsolvable as ever.
Looming behind every story about politics is the anticipated bid and comeback of former President Donald Trump, who was plotting a coup this time last year. These stories sometimes overlap, as when Trump met Kyle Rittenhouse, the teen who was recently acquitted after killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last summer.
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden, on Wednesday, cited the convictions of three white men in the murder of Ahmed Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, as evidence that “our justice system is (doing) its job.”

But what may touch more Americans directly every day is the state of the American economy.

That’s the disconnect between data and everyday life: People are upset about rising costs at the fuel pump and the grocery store even when there’s plenty of very good economic news to be thankful for.

First, pretty much anyone who wants a job has one. The government recorded only 199,000 new claims for unemployment last week, the lowest level since 1969. Meanwhile, the gauge of headline inflation rose to a 31-year high in October.
CNN’s Christine Romance, in a photo report, described this epidemiological paradox of Covid-19.

I’ve borrowed a lot of its language for this list of arguably good news that includes:

  • US industrial output is racing forward above pre-pandemic levels.
  • Auto manufacturing rebounded last month Factory production would have been stronger had it not been for the hiccups in the companies’ supply chain.
  • Enviable corporate profits And big companies deal with supply chain problems, passing on high costs to customers and even increasing their profit margins along the way.
  • The largest publicly traded companies have larger profit margins Today than before the pandemic, that probably shows in your retirement account.
  • The Dow is up 17% this year The S&P 500 rose 25%. If you take a step back since the market crash in 2020, some averages have doubled.
  • Workers have the upper hand. You’ve heard it’s called the “Big Resignation” – Americans are leaving their jobs in record numbers. In September, 4.4 million ships jumped, and economists say many are taking on better jobs with higher wages and starting bonuses.
  • Paychecks are getting fatter after years of sluggish wage growth, especially for low-paid workers. Wage growth is approaching 5%.
  • Americans save. Thanks to higher wages, Covid-19 stimulus checks and child tax credits, Americans have more than $2.3 trillion in savings since the crisis began. JP Morgan says its average checking account balance is 50% higher this year than in 2019.
  • The economy adds jobs. Overall, 5.8 million jobs have been added this year.

There is certainly a contradiction here if the national mood is deteriorating while economic indicators are rising.

In a recent CBS News poll, only 4% of Americans said things in the country were going well in general, and 26% said they were doing somewhat well. People felt the same way about the economy: a combined 30% said the state of the national economy was very good or somewhat good.
It’s also true that while concerns about the economy are growing, they are still historically very low, Gallup notes.

“Inflation worries grab all the headlines, but most other indicators are moving forward significantly,” Roman said in her report.

I offered two reasons why measures of consumer confidence do not reflect strong indicators:

  • Americans are tired of the pandemic.
  • They are bombarding every day with high prices at the grocery store and gas station. “Everyone drives and eats; not everyone has stock,” she said.
It’s hard to tune in to these strong indicators with a ridiculous meme It is circulating in Washington that some Americans may not be able to buy turkeys this year due to inflation.

I asked Ariel Edwards Levy, CNN’s poll editor, how to display the national mood, and argued that polling defies easy junk food.

She said, “It is true that:

  • a) Concerns about the economy are increasing,
  • b) the economy is still not nearly as dominant as it was during the Great Recession,
  • c) The prevailing American views of the economy at the moment are generally very poor and
  • d) Views of economics are closely linked to partisanship.

The party component is an important component. Large parts of Republicans may have a worse view of the economy right now just because they ignore Biden. Democrats may have demonstrated the same behavior during the Trump administration.

The food is definitely more expensive. The American Farm Federation analyzed the numbers to argue that the average Thanksgiving feast for ten people would cost $53.31, or about $5.30 per person. Last year, the average figure was $46.90.

The American Farm Federation noted that turkeys are more expensive this year, but also added an asterisk that they were shopping for turkeys to make those calculations before groceries stocked up for Thanksgiving.

When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about it being the most expensive Thanksgiving ever, she replied, “I just want to be clear that there is an abundance of turkeys available. It’s about an extra dollar for a 20-pound bird, which is a huge bird if you’re feeding a very large family. And that’s something that, again, we’ve worked to make sure that people have More money in their pockets to deal with as the economy returns.”

The abundance of turkeys is something every American can be grateful for, even if there is concern that it costs a little bit higher.


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