Choppy and perilous economic seas ahead

From the WaPo: “But much like the government economic indicators reported this past week including a dip in gross domestic product and a slight bump in consumer spending, companies’ earnings are showing that the U.S. economy is in a weird spot. People are still spending their money, but inflation means more of it is going to gas and necessities and less to categories like clothing and electronics. Unemployment remains low, but some companies are slowing hiring and a few are beginning to lay people off outright. …

“Major companies reported a mix of positive and negative earnings results. Pfizer beat expectations on the back of its coronavirus vaccine and covid-19 treatment drug Paxlovid. Southwest Airlines said demand was strong, and revenue would be higher in the third quarter than what it was even before the pandemic. UPS shares dropped after the shipping company missed expectations for how many parcels it would carry in the quarter. General Motors also fell, blaming parts shortages for its inability to sell as many cars as it had wanted to.

“Consumer spending still rose in June, but much of that was because things cost more, and wages aren’t growing as fast, so people are cutting into their savings when doing their shopping, according to data released Friday by the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. Some categories, like clothing and electronics, are down, and people are putting a higher proportion of their money toward housing, food and gas.”

The biggest companies in America ? including Apple and Walmart ? are beginning to see cracks forming in consumers' willingness to spend.