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GDP will likely show U.S. economy grew in the third quarter, despite inflation

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The U.S. economy is expected to have grown robustly in a sharp rebound from the first half of the year, but most Americans are unlikely to notice anything about the turnaround.

Persistent inflation continues to weigh heavily on both economic growth and household budgets, and has become a key flash point ahead of the midterm elections. A strong reading on the next gross domestic product report, scheduled to be released Thursday, would be welcome news for Democrats, who have been struggling to convince voters they have a plan to contain rising prices and put the economy on more stable footing.

Although the newest numbers are likely to look like improvements on paper, economists say they don’t reflect major changes in the economy, which could be headed for a recession in the next year.

“This is going to look better than the previous two GDP reports, but conditions on the ground haven’t changed very much,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “Inflation is still taking a toll. Concerns about the Fed’s tightening remain. Things are not substantively different.”

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GDP, the broadest measure of economic activity, is expected to have risen roughly 2.9 percent between July and September, according to a tracker from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. That’s in line with some of the stronger pre-pandemic years of economic growth.

It comes after six months of contraction, with the U.S. economy shrinking by 1.6 percent, then 0.6 percent in the first two quarters of the year. That first-half slump raised fears that the country was already in the throes of a downturn, though recessions aren’t typical when unemployment is near record lows. The official determination is made by a panel of experts, and economists generally agree that the U.S. economy has staved off a recession — at least this year.

America’s return to growth stands in sharp contrast to other major economies, including Europe and the United Kingdom, which are either already in recession or almost certainly headed for one. China’s “zero-covid” policy has also become a drag on its economic growth, after long being one of the leading engines. (China has recently delayed releasing GDP data, obscuring its economic situation.)

The latest U.S. GDP figures are likely to be propped up by a narrowing trade gap, since the United States is importing fewer goods as a result of slowing demand. Plus, retailers’ inventory levels are expected to show stronger growth, as pandemic-era supply chain snags get ironed out. Neither of those factors have much bearing on Americans’ day-to-day life.

Economic uncertainty is one the biggest issues in the Nov. 8 midterms, where gun control, abortion rights and immigration also loom large. And the stakes are high: Democrats are within six seats of losing control of both the House and the Senate.

“Do not be fooled by a rebound in GDP,” Joseph LaVorgna, chief economist at SMBC Nikko Securities America and former Trump White House economic adviser, wrote in a recent note to clients. “Is the economy out of the woods? No. The economy frequently generates healthy gains in real GDP around the onset of recession. Indeed, this has happened in four out of the last six downturns.”

A growing chorus of economists say a 2023 recession is all but inevitable, as the Federal Reserve continues to aggressively raise interest rates in hopes of slowing the economy enough to control inflation. There are also rising fears that turmoil abroad, in Europe and Asia, could seep into the U.S. economy.

But for now, the economy remains strong by many measures. Unemployment, at 3.5 percent, is near historic lows and many Americans are getting pay raises. Business investment and consumer spending remain strong, even as households and business owners say they feel pessimistic about their finances and the direction of the economy.

The White House pointed to strong jobs growth and steady consumer spending — which makes up nearly 70 percent of GDP — as promising signs that the economy remains robust.

“If you’re trying to understand strong growth in the U.S. economy, obviously the job market is a critical contributor,” said Jared Bernstein, a member of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. “Most people get their income through the job market — it’s about paychecks, not stock portfolios — so if people are working and getting ahead, that’s going to be an important contribution to the economy.”

Economists are keeping a close watch on one key measure that strips out factors like trade and retailers’ inventory levels. That metric, final sales to private domestic purchasers, offers a clearer look at U.S. demand and has increased every quarter since the beginning of the pandemic. However, growth rates have begun tapering off this year, suggesting that economic gains are slowing, even while GDP ticks up.

“The nuance really matters right now,” said Andrew Patterson, senior international economist at Vanguard. “If you look at the underlying metrics, consumption by households, businesses and government is trending consistently downward. We may see positive GDP growth this time around, but that’s because of a drop in imports rather than higher consumption.”

Reading economic tea leaves, though, is often as much about household and business perceptions as it is about actual numbers. Even with a booming job market and brisk spending, many Americans feel incredibly pessimistic about the economy. Consumer sentiment remains near record lows, with many Americans saying they expect an even rockier road ahead, according to a closely watched index from the University of Michigan.

That gloom is driving voters across the country to reassess their decisions ahead of the midterms. Polls consistently show that inflation remains a top issue for many Americans.

In Nashville, Cheryl Beaumont is voting for Democrats for governor and Congress, though she says several friends are switching to Republican candidates because of economic concerns. Many are struggling with higher food and gas costs, she said, and don’t feel like the current administration is doing enough to bring down prices.

“Democrats are still out there talking about gun safety and abortion, but the real worry for everyday Americans is: How do I feed my family? How do I pay rent?” said Beaumont, 52, who handles transportation logistics for a shoe retailer. “They want a plan. People don’t have the luxury of putting principles in front of inflation anymore.”

 

Prices have risen 8.2 percent in the past year, government figures show, though many necessities like groceries, gas, utilities and health care are up considerably more. As a result, more Americans are dipping into their bank accounts and taking on more credit card debt to make ends meet. Many say they feel a growing sense of despair, as pay raises and pandemic savings get wiped out by inflation.

Philip Hyatt, who owns a barbecue catering business in Carson City, Nev., says recession concerns have prompted many clients to hold off on bookings for next year. At the same time, he’s facing double-digit price increases on just about everything, from spices to spare ribs, and says he will vote for Republicans in the midterms, in part because he feels President Biden has not done enough to address soaring costs.

“A lot of this inflation was going to happen no matter who was in power,” he said. “But I also see things happening in the White House that are not conducive to getting us through this or relieving any of these pressures.”

But while voters still say the economy is their biggest concern this fall, there are signs that many Americans are starting to feel at least slightly better about their finances as gas prices tick down from the summer’s record highs.

 

Theresa McCloskey, who owns a graphic design and printing firm near Philadelphia, has been dogged by supply shortages and rising prices. But she says she’s more worried about abortion rights. Although she often votes for candidates on both sides of the aisle, she plans to stick squarely with Democrats this time around.

“Even though as a business person, my job literally puts a roof over my head, I believe personally that my rights as a woman — and the rights of my daughter and nieces — are far more important than anything the economy can throw at me,” the 62-year-old said. “I don’t care what things cost. I’ve worked three jobs as a single mother before, and I will do it again if that’s what it takes to hold on to my rights.”

McCloskey, who has cut back on dining out and travel to save money, says she’s optimistic about the economy. Schools, car dealerships and other clients have continued to shell out for business cards, brochures and large banners. Her sales are on track to exceed last year’s by 20 percent, and she’s hopeful the United States can avert a recession.

“Inflation is a difficult right now,” she said. “But if things get more expensive, either I cut back more or I get another job. I’m not going to worry yet.”

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Securing good jobs, clean air, and a strong economy – Prime Minister of Canada

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Autoworkers have been a keystone of the Canadian economy for generations. By investing in the future of the auto industry, we are not only securing good middle-class jobs, we are fighting climate change, and building an economy that works for generations to come. 

Since January alone, Canada has secured several historic manufacturing deals for electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids, and batteries – deals that will create and secure thousands of good, middle-class jobs and provide the world with clean vehicles. Today, we are seeing the results of one of those deals start to roll off the line.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, was joined today by Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, to open Canada’s first full-scale EV manufacturing plant, General Motors of Canada Company’s (GM) CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario. Starting today and going forward, the plant will build fully electric delivery vans – the BrightDrop Zevo 600 – which will help cut pollution and keep our communities healthy for our children and grandchildren.

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Thanks in part to a $259 million investment from the Government of Canada, GM’s CAMI assembly plant was able to retool its operations to build these electric vans. By 2025, the plant plans to manufacture 50,000 EVs per year. This investment has helped secure thousands of well-paying, high-quality jobs across GM facilities, and is helping advance the electrification of Canada’s automotive sector.

The Government of Canada will continue to work to attract investment from companies around the world as we build our EV supply chain – from mining critical minerals to manufacturing batteries, and vehicles. By taking action today, we are positioning Canada as a global leader in EVs, fighting climate change, securing good jobs, and building an economy that works for all Canadians – now and into the future.

Quotes

“When we invested in GM’s project to build Canada’s first full-scale electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Ingersoll, we knew it would deliver results. Today, as the first BrightDrop van rolls off the line, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. This plant has secured good jobs for workers, it is positioning Canada as a leader on EVs, and will help cut pollution. Good jobs, clean air, and a strong economy – together, that’s the future we can build.”

The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“Today is proof that our historic investments in EV manufacturing are paying off. With the first BrightDrop vans coming off the assembly line, we’re seeing the skill of Canadian workers making a huge difference as the world moves to EVs. Our government, in partnership with GM, is cementing Canada’s leadership in the EV supply chain.”

The Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

“This milestone represents GM at our best – fast, flexible and first in the industry. The BrightDrop Zevo is a prime example of GM’s flexible Ultium EV architecture, which is allowing us to quickly launch a full range of electric vehicles for our customers. And, as of today, I am proud to call the CAMI EV Assembly team the first full-scale all-electric manufacturing team in Canada.”

Mark Reuss, President, General Motors

“This is a very exciting moment – a revolution in the way we transport people and goods. Today marks a huge day for BrightDrop, as we expand our footprint and begin producing the Zevo electric vans at scale, and a huge milestone for Canada on the road to a brighter future. Opening the CAMI plant is a major step in providing EVs at scale and delivering real results to the world’s biggest brands, like DHL Express, who will be our first Canadian customer.”

Travis Katz, President and CEO, BrightDrop

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada’s $259 million investment supports GM’s more than $2 billion project to reignite production at its Oshawa assembly plant, after operations stopped in 2019, and transform its CAMI assembly plant in Ingersoll.
  • The investment is being made through both the Strategic Innovation Fund and its Net Zero Accelerator Initiative.
  • The Government of Ontario made a matching contribution of up to $259 million toward the project.
  • Founded in 1918, General Motors of Canada Company (GM) is one of the largest automotive manufacturers worldwide. It is headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, and is one of Canada’s largest automotive manufacturers.
  • GM is planning to introduce 30 new electric vehicles by 2025, eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035, and become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040.
  • The automotive sector contributes $16 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and is one of the country’s largest export industries.
  • The automotive sector supports the employment of nearly 500,000 Canadians.
  • The 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan, released in March, puts Canada on track to achieving our goal of cutting emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 while continuing to build a strong economy.
  • To make zero-emission vehicles more affordable and accessible, the Government of Canada offers incentives of up to $5,000 off the purchase or lease of a light-duty zero-emission vehicle through the Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) Program. Since May 2019, close to 176,000 Canadians have taken advantage of this program.
  • Since 2015, the Government of Canada has invested $400 million in building approximately 35,000 zero-emission vehicle charging stations across the country.

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UK's Economy To Dip Into Recession This Winter – OilPrice.com

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UK’s Economy To Dip Into Recession This Winter | OilPrice.com

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City A.M

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CityAM.com is the online presence of City A.M., London’s first free daily business newspaper. Both platforms cover financial and business news as well as sport and…

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Recession

The UK’s recession will officially begin this winter and is likely to last for most of next year, a closely watched survey out today suggests.

S&P Global and the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply’s (CIPS) final purchasing managers’ index (PMI) measuring private sector activity in November was unchanged at 48.2, the lowest number since January 2021 when the UK was in the constrained by tough pandemic lockdowns.

The reading was below analysts’ expectations but held steady from an earlier estimate. The services PMI was unchanged at 48.8. Services firms generate about two thirds of UK GDP.

The figure prompted experts to predict the forewarned recession will start during the final weeks of this year. 

A recession is typically defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction. The UK economy shrank 0.2 percent over the summer.

PMI has slid this year

Source: S&P Global

Britain’s PMI has now been below the 50 point threshold that separates growth and contraction for four months now, indicating consumers and businesses started cutting spending during the summer when the cost of living crisis gathered pace.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, said Britain is now in the teeth of the worst economic slowdown outside the Covid-19 pandemic since the financial crisis in 2008.

The economy is being spiked by the worst inflation crunch in 41 years, with prices rising 11.1 percent over the year to October.

Pay is failing to keep pace with inflation, putting households on track for the biggest living standards shock on record. The Office for Budget Responsibility reckons real incomes will fall 7.1 percent over the next two years.

That living standards squeeze is expected to drive a spending slowdown, keeping the UK in recession for at least a year. However, experts think the amount of GDP lost during the slump will be small compared to past recessions.

Businesses are being squeezed by soaring energy costs, forcing them to scale back unprofitable activity.

Gabriella Dickens, senior UK economist at consultancy Pantheon Macroeconomics, thinks businesses will have to shed workers to offset weaker spending.

“Firms will move decisively to reduce employment next year, as they are forced to consolidate costs in the face of higher financing costs and weaker demand,” she said.

The pound slumped 0.34 percent against the US dollar on the news. The FTSE 100 climbed 0.24 percent.

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B.C.’s economy forecast to remain steady, despite slower near-term economic growth | BC Gov News – BC Gov News

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Like other jurisdictions, B.C. is expected to see slower economic growth through 2023 because of global inflation and higher interest rates, before steady growth resumes in the medium term, according to projections from private-sector forecasters.

Each year, B.C.’s finance minister meets with the Economic Forecast Council (EFC), a 13-member council of private-sector forecasters from throughout Canada, in preparation for the next year’s budget. This is the second year that an additional set of discussions was added, providing an opportunity to consult with an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Advisory Council to explore how the provincial government can continue to build a more inclusive, sustainable economy and support well-being in British Columbia.

The EFC anticipates the province’s economy will grow by 2.9% in 2022 and 0.4% in 2023; slower than their January 2022 forecasts of 4.2% and 2.7%, respectively. The updated figures are similar to what was presented in the Province’s Second Quarterly Report. Real gross domestic product (GDP) growth is then expected to pick up, with an increase of 1.6% in 2024, followed by gains of 2.3%, 2.3% and 2.1% in 2025, 2026 and 2027, respectively. The reduction in the near-term outlook is consistent with other jurisdictions and reflects persistent global inflation and interest rates rising higher and more rapidly than expected throughout Canada.

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“We’re entering this period of slower growth and challenging global economic times in a strong position to continue supporting people, because B.C.’s economy grew more than most last year,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “We’ll use the resources we have to address the issues that matter most to people, including housing, health care and building a sustainable economy that works for everyone – but no matter what is on the horizon and no matter what the numbers show, this government will continue to be here to support people.”

Discussions with the EFC and the ESG Advisory Council focused on current events, issues affecting B.C.’s economy and the environmental, social and governance opportunities and challenges facing the province. Topics at the meetings included:

  • global inflation and monetary policy impacts;
  • government policies to stimulate investment and ensure shared prosperity;
  • socioeconomic factors in B.C., such as inequality, Indigenous partnerships, and well-being;
  • environment, climate change and the transition to a lower carbon economy;
  • housing affordability and supply;
  • labour market dynamics and immigration; and
  • opportunities for businesses to build on B.C.’s strong ESG profile.

“We are committed to building an inclusive economy, where environmental and social sustainability is the basis for future growth,” said Robinson. “A strong social, cultural and economic foundation is key to successful and resilient communities. We know this, and we know generations will benefit from the decisions we make right now.”

Forecasts and feedback from the two councils will be used to inform the next provincial budget, which will be released on Feb. 28, 2023. EFC members will also have an opportunity to submit revised forecasts in early January.

Quick Facts:

  • In the Province’s Second Quarterly Report, B.C. projected a revised operating surplus of $5.7 billion in the 2022-23 fiscal year.
  • Since the summer, B.C. has rolled out approximately $2 billion in affordability measures.
  • Environmental, Social and Governance are three main categories often discussed when evaluating sustainability performance, risk-mitigation planning and societal well-being.

Learn More:

To read B.C.’s Second Quarterly Report, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/finances/reports/quarterly-reports

For information about new and existing support measures for B.C. residents, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/cost-of-living/

For more about the StrongerBC Economic Plan, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan/

To learn about the ways B.C. is committed to environmental, social and governance principles, read the ESG summary report here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/government-finances/debt-management/bc-esg-report.pdf

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