Like the British band, the new GDP data tells us the economy is in dire straits. Phil Rosen here, coming to you from Los Angeles.
I’m not much for ’70s rock n’ roll, but I do keep an ear to government data — and yesterday’s GDP print kicked up a lot of hubbub.
This much I know for sure: GDP doesn’t tell the whole story.
There’s a lot of moving parts. Let’s break it down.
1. The technical definition of a recession is two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction, which the government just confirmed Thursday — the economy shrank by 0.9% last quarter after contracting 1.6% in the first quarter.
Back-to-back declines like we just saw are widely regarded as indicators of a recession, but there’s more at play.
First, the US economy is not officially in a recession until the National Bureau of Economic Research says so — and they haven’t yet.
In Thursday comments, Janet Yellen pointed to the strong job market as reason to believe the US economy isn’t in a broad slowdown. There’s been a flurry of payroll additions and unemployment remains at reasonable levels.
The country is on track to surpass its pre-COVID payroll count this August, 30 months after the virus struck.
The same feat took 76 months after 2008, and 48 months after 2001.
And all the while Americans have been emptying their wallets. We spent $681 billion at retailers and restaurants last month, and even adjusted for inflation, that’s a healthy clip.
Even though the GDP just shrank in the last three months, spending was still up.
So — are we in a recession?
Yes, according to one measure. No, when you tie in all measures.
You can also catch one of the editors of this newsletter, Hallam Bullock, on The Refresh from Insider discussing the big recession question.
In other news:
2. US stock futures rise early Friday, following a positive earnings report from Apple. The company advanced more than 4% after hours. Meanwhile, the Japanese yen is on track for its largest monthly gain against the dollar in two years. Here are the latest market moves.
3. On the docket: ExxonMobil Corp., Procter & Gamble Co., AstraZeneca PLC, all reporting.
4. This batch of growth stocks are cheaper than they’ve been in years. And Goldman Sachs said they will be able to weather a series of aggressive Fed rate hikes. See the list of 18 names here.
5. The gold market should see slower jewelry demand through the end of 2022. That’s according to the World Gold Council, which pointed to a slow recovery in China and import duties in India. Here’s what you want to know.
6. Amazon stock surged 12% after hours Thursday. The Jeff Bezos-led retail giant reported a fall in quarterly operating income, but the company pointed to progress in the efficiency of its fulfillment network. Here are some key takeaways.
7. Freddie Mac noted that housing market demand continues to tumble even as mortgage rates dip. Sales activity is slumping since the market has not yet normalized, the groups’ chief economist said. The 30-year fixed rate fell from 5.54% to 5.30% for the week ending Thursday.
8. Real estate investors on the sidelines said they are waiting for the right moment to jump back into the market. At this point in the current cycle, some property investors are watching the landscape change from a seller’s market to one that favors buyers — and some of them are sitting on a pile of cash waiting to buy.
9. A former BlackRock investment stock chief is monitoring specific signals to identify a bottom in stocks. Bob Doll said these three signals make him believe markets haven’t bottomed yet. But he’s betting on these five stocks amid the “murky” economic environment.
10. More than 55,000 gas stations across 17 states already have gas prices below $4, GasBuddy data shows. And prices at the pump are still slipping further after reaching record highs earlier this summer. On average, the whole country could see prices fall below $4 by mid-August.
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Edited by Jason Ma in Los Angeles and Hallam Bullock (@hallam_bullock) in London.