business news in context, analysis with attitude

CNBC has a story about how "US shoppers are making more trips to the dollar store. They’re stocking up with items from stores’ private-label brands more than usual and cutting back on snacks and sodas at convenience stores."

The story goes on:  "In the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, customers stockpiled food, toilet paper and other essentials for prolonged stays at home. They shopped for different kinds of items, such as hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to stay healthy, computer monitors to set up home offices and supplies to help kids attend school remotely. And they began filling up bigger baskets as they avoided stores or made less frequent shopping trips."

What this all suggests, economists tell CNBC, is an economic downtown.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC writes, " the financial picture has become bleaker. Unemployment has risen to 14.7%, after 20.5 million people lost their jobs in April alone. The total number of jobless claims is up to 33.5 million over the past seven weeks. Pay cuts have squeezed family budgets. Even those with the same income may feel uneasy, as they read unemployment reports or see neighbors, family or friends get furloughed or laid off."

KC's View:

The question that both retailers and suppliers have to answer, as they form their own short-term and long-term responses to these circumstances, is whether they believe that the economy is primed to quickly recover from what will be a brief recession, or whether we will be facing something more extended that looks more like some sort of depression.

I really want to be optimistic here.  But I am finding it difficult.