Although the U.S. labor market has shown significant improvement since the initial emergence of the pandemic, Americans aren’t buying that we are in the clear yet.
A recent poll conducted by Bankrate showed that nearly 39% of Americans feel that the pandemic is the greatest threat to the economy over the next six months.
21% of Americans fear the political environment would have the most significant impact on our economy, while 14% fear inflation would indeed be the culprit.
Just turn on the local news or visit the grocery store and you’ll most likely understand the sentiment.
While only time will indeed reveal what’s to come over the next six months, one thing is for sure, Americans feel vulnerable and a great majority of citizens are certainly expecting their jobs or incomes to be substantially affected.
In fact, more than 3 in 5 Americans, or 63%, share that same belief.
“Americans continue to see the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest economic threat of the next six months, and 63 percent of Americans are concerned about their jobs and incomes taking a hit,” commented Bankrate’s chief financial analyst Greg McBride.
McBride followed by saying:
“Nervous households are less likely to spend, and recent pullbacks in travel and consumer discretionary purchases bear this out.”
Small businesses, particularly in the food, restaurant, and hospitality sector, are still hurting and preparing to face even more challenging times ahead.
New data from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Voices program revealed that 84% of business owners in these sectors are concerned about the outcome that a rise in Covid-19 infection rates would have on their operations.
However, the number of the overall business population wasn’t far off as it weighed in as a concern for 75% of the participants.
Inflation is one thing nearly all of the businesses agreed that had financially affected them and would continue to impact their business negatively; at least, that’s how 93% of the respondents felt.
Nearly all have seen an increase in operating costs and the data shows that 79% of business owners blame workforce challenges that have worsened since before the pandemic.
“In June, 67% of small businesses, despite inflation, despite the workforce challenges, said they thought the U.S. was headed in the right direction,” said Joe Wall, national director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices.
If you’ve dined recently, you may have noticed a spike in consumer prices.
Restaurant menu prices are up 0.8% according to more data. The biggest price increases can be found at popular fast-food chains, with restaurants recently hiking up prices by 10%.
If you believe the worst of inflation is over, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
These exact times, when uncertainty runs high and optimism runs low, are where gold shines.
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