Updated Sep 1, 2023 - Economy

Americans sound miserable, but are buying lots of boats

Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Spending on pleasure boats continues to hover near remarkable highs.

Why it matters: You don't buy a boat unless you're fairly confident the economic wind is at your back, so this is a good sign that Americans — despite what they tell pollsters — are actually feeling pretty good.

  • It's a bit of a reality check on what polling says is the predominant American mood of the moment: diffident and dissatisfied verging on despondent.
  • The boat-buying binge — which began during the Covid crisis — is also another strike against the once dominant "looming recession" narrative.

By the way: Before you cynics jump down our throats, Axios' Joann Muller, who's reported in depth on the trend, says this isn't just about the rich.

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