The unprecedented growth in the money supply offers both hope and fear. The hope is that once households can start spending again, they will tap into all that money and fire up the economy. The fear is inflation.
The state Department of Revenue released figures on sales tax disbursements to local governments for the months of March. Overall, taxable sales for March 2020, compared to March 2019, were down 25 percent in King County, 21 percent in Pierce County and 24 percent in Snohomish County.
One of the biggest and most important mysteries of the crisis is the pace at which consumers begin to spend again. We can now see how spending is expanding, using national credit and debit card transaction data.
The high amenity regions did grow somewhat more than the low amenity regions, but not by a whole lot. Plenty of Americans moved to places like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston, where they could enjoy a lifestyle that many might consider “low amenity” but that leaves more money in their bank account after they pay the basic costs of living.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its most recent national price data this week, and it shows movements all across the consumer basket of goods and services. Car insurance rates dropped: less driving means fewer collisions. Airline fares plummeted, as did the price of gasoline and diesel fuel.