Connect with us

Press Releases

US Economy Is Making ‘Dramatic Progress,’ Says NRF Economist

‘NRF is optimistic that the recovery is accelerating and the needed rebuilding of the economy is underway.’

mm

Published

on

(PRESS RELEASE) WASHINGTON – With more vaccines in arms, federal stimulus putting money into pockets and consumers shopping again, the U.S. economy has made dramatic progress since the coronavirus pandemic brought activity to a near-standstill this time last year, said National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.

“The economy has come a long way compared with a year ago,” Kleinhenz said. “Both monetary policy set by the Federal Reserve and fiscal policy set by Congress and the White House have responded with swift and overwhelming force to support the economy. NRF is optimistic that the recovery is accelerating and the needed rebuilding of the economy is underway. The rate of vaccinations is ramping up, and the numbers paint an increasingly encouraging picture.”

14 Innovative Showcase Strategies That Will Make Your Mind Whir [Photo Gallery]
Photo Gallery

14 Innovative Showcase Strategies That Will Make Your Mind Whir [Photo Gallery]

20 of the Funniest ‘The Jeweler’ Cartoons of All Time
Photo Gallery

20 of the Funniest ‘The Jeweler’ Cartoons of All Time

8 Jewelers Get Creative When Promoting Wedding Sales [Photo Gallery]
Photo Gallery

8 Jewelers Get Creative When Promoting Wedding Sales [Photo Gallery]

Kleinhenz’s remarks came in the April issue of NRF’s Monthly Economic Review, which said conditions have “improved dramatically” after the “unpredictable shock” of the pandemic brought widespread shutdowns of retailers and other businesses beginning in March 2020.

This time a year ago, 22 million Americans had lost their jobs in two months, unemployment shot from a 50-year low of 3.5 percent to 14.7 percent and economic output fell by 31 percent, according to NRF’s report. By contrast, more than half the jobs lost have been recovered, the Federal Reserve expects gross domestic product to grow 6.5 percent this year and household net worth is at an all-time high at $122.9 trillion.

Kleinhenz said the increase in net worth came as home values rose and savings accumulated as consumers stayed home rather than eating out, traveling or attending entertainment or sports events. The wealth “provides consumers with plenty of purchasing power” that will likely be seen across consumer-facing industries.

The new round of $1,400 stimulus checks currently being distributed under the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act are certain to “fuel another leg of growth,” although they could be split between spending, saving and paying down debt, Kleinhenz said.

Advertisement

While the economy is stronger, the recovery has been uneven, Kleinhenz said. Despite continuing gains, employment remains soft with around 10 million still out of work and unemployment at 6.2 percent. Low-income workers and members of minority communities have been disproportionately impacted.

While some economists have expressed concern that the quickly growing economy could lead to inflation, Kleinhenz said he agreed with Federal Reserve officials who believe higher prices are unlikely to be sustainable. Supply will catch up with demand, the labor market is keeping wages in check and competitive ecommerce is limiting sellers’ pricing power, he said.

NRF has forecast that 2021 retail sales – excluding automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants – will grow between 6.5 percent and 8.2 percent over 2020 to between $4.33 trillion and $4.4 trillion. That could top 2020’s growth of 6.6 percent, which broke the previous record of 6.3 percent set in 2004 despite the pandemic.

Advertisement

SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular