S&P Global Data Reveals Strong Growth in US Economy in April
According to S&P Global, the US economy is currently experiencing its largest upswing in nearly a year. The company’s recent preliminary report on the US economy in April showed an 11-month high reading for activity across the US economy and a 12-month high reading for activity in the services sector. These results challenge the narrative that “storm clouds” are brewing in the US economy. Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, commented on the report, stating that “the latest survey adds to signs that business activity has regained growth momentum after contracting over the seven months to January.” He also noted that the latest reading is indicative of GDP growing at an annualized rate of just over 2%.
S&P’s Composite PMI and Business Activity Index Show Expansion in Economic Activity
S&P’s composite PMI, which measures economic activity across the manufacturing and services sectors, reached 53.5 in April. This is an improvement from the 52.3 reading in March and the highest reading since May 2022. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in economic activity, while readings below 50 indicate contraction.
The business activity index for the services sector also showed an increase, with a reading of 53.7 in April, up from 52.6 in March. Similarly, the manufacturing PMI for the same period came in at 50.4, an improvement from the 49.2 reading in March. This marks a six-month high for S&P’s manufacturing gauge. Williamson noted that growth is “reassuringly broad-based, led by services thanks to a post-pandemic shift in spending away from goods, though goods producers are also reporting signs of demand picking up again.”
Jobs Growth Accelerates Alongside Resurgence of Demand
Williamson also commented on the job market, stating that jobs growth has accelerated alongside the resurgence of demand. He noted that reports of vacancies being more easily filled reflect an improved supply of candidates and higher wages. This is a positive sign for the US economy, as job growth is a crucial indicator of economic health.
The Federal Reserve’s Upcoming Policy Meeting
The Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy meeting, expected to take place in less than two weeks, is anticipated to result in a 0.25% interest rate hike. The Fed’s Beige Book report, which gathers information from business contacts across the US, showed that economic activity has remained steady despite concerns about the banking sector that rattled markets in March. However, credit standards have tightened following Silicon Valley Bank’s failure in early March, and recent data has led many economists to expect a downturn later this year.
Read More: Beige Book Release on the Horizon: What FOMC Speakers Think
Diverging Data and Predictions for the Future
Disagreements in incoming data continue to prove challenging. Recent readings on activity from the New York Fed and Philadelphia Fed showed wildly different outlooks on activity, with the New York Fed’s measure of activity in the manufacturing sector showing growth for the first time in five months and the Philly Fed’s region showing activity falling to its lowest level since May 2020. This has left economists unsure of which data to rely on. Some predict a recession later in the year, with Oren Klachkin, lead US economist at Oxford Economics, stating that he expects a downturn in the second half of the year, while others remain optimistic. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has noted that the economy “continues to be on generally healthy footings,” but added that “storm clouds” remain on the horizon.
Read More: Senate Hearing on Bank Failures: Lessons for Investors and Regulators
Bloomberg Survey Indicates a 65% Chance of a Downturn
A survey conducted by Bloomberg of economists in April showed a 65% chance of a US recession within the next 12 months. This is an increase from the 53% chance predicted in the previous survey conducted in January. Concerns about inflation, supply chain disruptions, and rising interest rates were cited as reasons for the increased likelihood of a downturn.
Potential Impact of Global Economic Conditions and Policy Decisions
The potential impact of global economic conditions and policy decisions on the US economy is also a point of concern. The ongoing pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the emergence of new variants of COVID-19 continue to pose risks to global economic recovery. Additionally, decisions made by the Federal Reserve regarding interest rates and monetary policy, as well as potential government spending and tax policies, could also impact the US economy.
Furthermore, the recent rise in inflation has led to concerns about the possibility of the Federal Reserve raising interest rates more aggressively than expected, which could potentially harm the US economic recovery. However, some economists argue that the current inflation is likely transitory and will ease in the coming months.
Overall, while the US economy is currently experiencing a strong upswing, there remain uncertainties and risks that could impact the future trajectory of the economy.
Read More: IMF Managing Director Warns of Impending Global Economic Downturn
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