In the opening edition, obtained ahead of its launch on Tuesday by CNN, White House collaborators attempted to explain and quantify the problem now plaguing consumers in the wallet. Highlighting the good news, they note that strong demand means that overall consumer spending has almost reached pre-pandemic levels.
During the first two weeks of October, the two main California ports unloaded 379,000 containers. That makes a total of 8.1 million for the year – ahead of the pace of the previous record-breaking year of 2018.
By early October, this large volume of containers had fueled a national inventory of retail products worth $ 455 billion. This total, which excludes automobiles, is 4% higher at the same point last year, according to the administration.
As Americans prepare to shop for holiday gifts, the White House is also following a series of data compiled by private company IRI. This data shows how easily consumers can find products offered by retailers.
On Sunday, IRI’s “off-the-shelf availability” data showed that retailers had 89 percent of the products they sold in stock. It was just slightly below the 91% level measured in February 2020, before the coronavirus shutdowns.
The course of the pandemic itself is more important than the administration’s efforts to directly alleviate the supply chain crisis. In the United States, economists expect the return to normal life to shift consumer spending more from goods to services.
Taming the pandemic in Asia and elsewhere would reduce disruption in semiconductor manufacturing. These chips are particularly rare, hampering the production of cars and other technology-dependent goods.
But the pandemic has so far defied expectations, leaving expectations for inflation and other economic indicators in doubt.
The president declined an invitation to clarify when supply chains could be fixed. He only said he was convinced Americans would prefer Thanksgiving terms to the holidays last year.