OPENING SOON! Peapack-Gladstone Bank | 104 Ely Place, Boonton, NJ
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The Weekly Economic & Market Recap
March 5, 2021
Certain high frequency data points have shown improvement over the last month but still reside well below their pre-pandemic levels. The main driver of the economic recovery is the rollout and adoption of the vaccines, which is showing improvement and could lead to herd immunity at some point this summer in the U.S. Once society is generally free from COVID-19 restrictions, there will still be lasting scars to deal with. One of the most pressing issues surrounding the long-term impacts of the pandemic pertains to education. Many students have been learning remotely for the past year and those with technology issues have been struggling to keep up. Moreover, millions of college students have decided to place their educations on hold due to the perceived limitations of virtual learning. The modification of the traditional educational environment could weigh on productivity for years to come. Another scar caused by the pandemic exists with global supply chains and the breakdown in efficacy caused by regional spikes in the virus. Finished goods and components no longer flow as freely as they once did, which is adding to cost and hampering transportation efficiency. A third scar of the pandemic is the massive buildup of debt at the federal level. Just recently, net federal debt exceeded 100% of GDP, which is the highest level since World War II. Debt accumulation at the federal level is expected to remain sizable this year as well, with a $2.3 trillion dollar deficit according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) baseline projection. Many individuals are concerned that the federal deficit has become unsustainably large. However, it is not the level of debt, but instead the cost to service the debt that is the true driver of sustainability. With interest rates at their current levels, the CBO projects that the net interest on federal debt will be below 2% of GDP in 2021, which is considerably lower than where it was when it peaked 30 years ago. Interest rates are rising and it has been concerning to markets, but interest rates are still historically low and have additional capacity to increase before financial conditions are negatively impacted.
Click below to listen to this week's Peapack Private Wealth Management Market Report as heard on WCBS NewsRadio 880.