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Economy on erratic course

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WASHINGTON — U.S. economic growth has slowed, but it still isn’t clear if the nation is in a recession, National Retail Federation chief economist Jack Kleinhenz said earlier this month.

“As we come to the end of the summer, economic indicators are signaling an unsteady U.S. expansion in the face of several headwinds,” Kleinhenz explained, pointing to ongoing inflation, the prospect of further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes, the volatile stock market and other issues. “These factors are all contributing to the debate on whether the economy is already in a recession, but key indicators disagree on whether we are there yet.”

Consumer sentiment and their continued spending at retail remains critical to the economy’s health, according to Kleinhenz. “While consumers have become more cautious and cooled their spending in the first half of 2022, households continue to spend and are contending with inflation by using credit cards more, saving less and drawing on savings built up during the pandemic. Consumer stamina will be the big question going forward.”


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