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Watch this year’s State of the Economy event

Marc Schaffer, associate professor of economics, and St. Norbert College students Emily O’Leary and Peyton Jack present an in-depth look at the factors impacting our economy. They discuss the current behavior of gross domestic product, unemployment and inflation, as well as key economic changes that may impact the economy in the short term. 

This year’s address features special guest and SNC alumna Christine Loose, vice president of lodging and wellness at Kohler Co. Loose examines the economic impact of the pandemic on tourism at both a global and regional level.

This webinar provides insights for area professionals looking for more economic data ahead of executing their business planning and for individuals who are generally interested in the state of the country’s economy.

Watch a Recording

We invite you to complete a brief survey to help us tailor future events. Within the survey, you can request a copy of the State of the Economy presentation.

Additional Q&A

Are consumers actually saving or simply not spending, i.e staying home?
From a data perspective of calculating the savings, those two ideas would show up in a similar fashion, as an increase in the savings rate. It is worth noting that a driving factor of the significant rise in the savings rate was the first round of stimulus payments. Savings is defined as current income minus spending on current needs, so stimulus payments would bump up the current income significantly for most individuals, which would drive up that rate. While this number has come down a lot, it is still much higher than the pre-COVID rate.

Are more people looking for jobs than jobs available? From what I hear, maybe not at the national level but in Wisconsin. Is that right?
The slide in today’s presentation referred to the national picture in the aggregate. An important conversation pertaining to the labor market that is often overlooked is the regional variation that exists between jobs available and people looking for jobs. This also extends to different types of jobs, industries, etc. The focus of this presentation was the national level. In our December talk, and in our talk coming up later this year, we will focus on state/regional data.

What are suggestions to mitigate the inflation concern for individuals?
There is a lot to unpack here! The key is that while the Fed has pumped a lot of money into the economy, we have not yet seen the inflation rise in a significant way based on the core measures, partially because you need spending to resume to normal (or increase) to actually get the prices to rise. If the Fed increased the money supply and it ultimately trickled down to the public but they don’t spend, or if the Fed added liquidity to the banking system and those funds do not get put to work, then we won’t see the inflation. (For reference, here is a look at the holdings of excess reserves by the banking industry. This represents funds that went into the banking system that are not loaned out.) If the spending picks up and if banks start to get money flowing again, this is when the inflation risk enters into the conversation. To that end, the Fed has publicly said they are focused on the goal of getting unemployment back down as the priority, with the asterisk that they will do so until inflation begins to become a concern, at which point they will react accordingly to help keep that in check.

What’s the difference between general merchandise and retail?
According to the definition in Affinity Solution’s (the graph provider this question references) data, retail and general merchandise are related as the name would suggest. Their classification is that general merchandise is a subset of retail, which is classified as spending at general merchandise stores (Target, Walmart, etc.), where retail includes those stores but also adds in a number of other specific categories such as sporting goods stores, clothing and apparel stores, health and personal, electronics stores, etc. Essentially, the retail is more all-encompassing of a category than general merchandise (find more information here).

This event was presented by the Center for Business & Economic Analysis of the Donald J. Schneider School of Business & Economics at St. Norbert College.

Contact Us
Have any questions about the State of the Economy event? Please contact:

Amy Kundinger
Director of Business Engagement
Phone: 920-403-4223
amy.kundinger@snc.edu
Contact Us
Have any questions about the State of the Economy event? Please contact:

Amy Kundinger
Director of Business Engagement
Phone: 920-403-4223
amy.kundinger@snc.edu
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