Monday, April 09, 2012

Hamilton: Current economic conditions

by Bill McBride on 4/09/2012 01:27:00 PM

Professor Hamilton reviews the current situation at Econbrowser: Current economic conditions

An excerpt on the impact oil and gasoline prices:

One of the big concerns of many analysts was that rising oil prices of the last 5 months might significantly slow down economic growth. My view is that the main mechanism by which oil prices can sometimes have a disproportionately disruptive effect on the economy is if they result in sudden shifts in the patterns of spending. One typical channel is a plunge in sales of the larger vehicles manufactured in the U.S., which then leads to further losses of income and jobs in the auto sector. But the evidence suggests that an oil price increase that just reverses a previous oil price decrease-- and that is basically what we've experienced so far in 2012-- is not nearly as disruptive as if the price were rocketing into uncharted territory. One reason for this is that recent consumers' vehicle purchase plans were already taking into account the possibility that $4 gas could soon return.
See Hamilton's post for much more on oil.

Hamilton concludes: "the economy undeniably continues to grow, the rate of that growth continues to disappoint".