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April 15, 2024

MainStreet Macro: All that glitters

Last week’s hotter-than-expected inflation report surprised and rattled investors. The Consumer Price Index accelerated by 0.4 percent in March from the previous month. After a months-long slowdown, price increases in February and March reached their highest level since September and put the annual rate of inflation at 3.5 percent, firmly out of reach of the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target.
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February 22, 2021

MainStreet Macro: Shop til the Economy Pops

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Shoppers on Main Street tell us a lot about the state of the broader economy. What you and I spend our hard-earned dollars on -- whether we save or invest, buy clothes or cars, spend Saturday nights chilling with Netflix or at a bar after a game -- all adds up to just how quickly the economy recovers.
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February 15, 2021

MainStreet Macro: Housing Leads the Way

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

The title of this blog, Main Street Macro, might be self-explanatory. What you don’t know is that I grew up on Main Street, in a smallish Indiana town. I have a direct and personal connection to what we talk about each week. Today, let’s talk about my old Main Street house and the millions of houses like it--those profoundly personal and sometimes sentimental investments that have a direct and outsized influence on the economy.
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February 8, 2021

Main Street Macro: Phil has spoken

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow last week, signaling six more weeks of winter just as the Northeast was being blanketed with its strongest snowfall in five years. As an economist and professional forecaster, I’m impressed by the real-time confirmation of the groundhog’s prediction. Another prediction last week also is likely to hit its mark. The Congressional Budget Office forecast an economic rebound to pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021. It’s the latest in a string of analyses to show that one of the most severe recessions in U.S. history also likely will be one of the shortest.
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February 1, 2021

MainStreet Macro: Right Direction, Wrong Reason

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Last week we reported that wages for U.S. workers grew 4.4%. On Main Street, that translates to about a buck and a quarter increase in average hourly take-home pay, to $30.19. It’s a much stronger increase than the historical average. Like other macro-level indicators, however, this headline wage number masks ongoing job market turbulence caused by COVID-19. To get a closer look, we turn to ADP data on wages, which draws information each month from approximately 250,000 companies and 18 million employees, about 15 percent of all U.S. private sector employees.
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January 25, 2021

MainStreet Macro: The Handshake

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

One of the first things to disappear during the COVID-19 pandemic was the handshake. In the midst of the contagion, the greeting was quickly replaced by the fist bump, then the elbow bump, then (my personal favorite) a quick wave behind a masked smile. Now that handshakes have all but vanished from the planet, Main Street businesses are gearing up for a new form of outreach from the Biden administration. It’s the non-physical, but just as tangible embrace of aggressive monetary policy with an ambitious Go Big or Stay Home fiscal spending package.
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January 18, 2021

MainStreet Macro: Inflation, the Remix

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Last week witnessed a second Trump impeachment in three years. It’s a remarkable time in political history and there’s a lot to unpack. But this isn’t that type of blog and I’ve taken a grand total of one political science class and whatever history was required in high school.
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January 11, 2021

MainStreet Macro: What Next for 2021 Jobs Recovery

by Nela Richardson, Ph.D.

Welcome to the MainStreet Macro Blog, a weekly dispatch that will dissect and explain the macroeconomic trends that affect the business community, its workers, and the consumers it serves.
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