At the start of 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic reached global proportions and became a pandemic. Between January and March, the word “pandemic” appeared in 82 percent of the reports on country economic conditions published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.1 This article describes the impact of the pandemic on U.S. consumer behavior in the initial months of the pandemic. Measuring the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the U.S. economy is still a work in progress.2
Changes in Retail Sales
Between May 2018 and February 2020, retail sales at bars and restaurants were almost equal to retail sales at food and beverage stores, as shown in Figure 1. The figures shown are adjusted for changes in the cost of living over time. This is done by dividing the sales figures by the consumer price index (CPI) and multiplying by 100.3 The CPI measures the average change over time in the prices of a typical basket of goods and services for an urban consumer. The CPI measures price changes from the perspective of buyers. Read more…..
Chart of the Day
Dow futures surged on the news that data from the coronavirus vaccine trial out of Pfizer and German biotech firm BioNTech shows the vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19 among those without evidence of prior infection. CNBC’s Jim Cramer, Carl Quintanilla and David Faber discuss what this means for technology stocks that have risen during the pandemic.