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Data: IHS Markit; Chart: Axios Visuals

Economic growth could be hot for much longer than expected as shortages continue to push out the unsatisfied demand for goods and services.

Why it matters: The current blistering pace of growth has been spurred by the rapid reopening of the economy, a phenomenon some experts say can't last.

Yes, but: Economists tell Axios that while growth may slow, it’ll still be unusually strong for a while because so many people and businesses are holding off on purchases — either because stuff isn’t available or prices are just too high.

What they’re saying: BofA economist Ethan Harris says the U.S. economy is like "a coiled spring."

  • "This is good news for the period ahead," Harris wrote in a report. "While a lot has been made of the temporary inflation pressures, there is much less discussion of the temporary constraint on real activity. However, you can't have one without the other."
  • "There are only so many people that can go to Disney World in a given day," Renaissance Macro economist Neil Dutta tells Axios. Yes, even the happiest place on earth is turning people away.

By the numbers: Dutta says we should look at vendor lead times, or the amount of time it’s taking to deliver goods, to gauge just how backed up companies are with orders they can't fill right away.

Also: Harris and SGH Macro Advisors economist Tim Duy argue the surge in job openings clearly represents unfulfilled demand.

  • "In the last two months 837,000 people have been added to payrolls, but the number of job openings has jumped by 1.76 million," writes Harris in an email to Axios. "Unsatisfied new demand for workers is growing more than twice as fast as hiring!"

The bottom line: For months we’re going to keep getting reports that’ll underestimate the full strength of America’s consumers and businesses.

  • "Effectively, as the economy hits more supply side constraints, our metrics of growth soften," says Duy. "But it shouldn’t be confused with a typical demand side slowdown."

Go deeper

John Frank, author of Denver
Sep 22, 2021 - Axios Denver

Defying the pandemic, Colorado sees an economic rebound

Expand chart
Data: Colorado Legislative Council Economic Outlook; Note: 2021 average is from September 2020 to August 2021; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The state's economy continues to show substantial growth even as coronavirus cases hit 2021 highs and inequities persist.

Why it matters: The dichotomy — revealed Tuesday in two economic forecasts — is driving how Colorado leaders respond to the pandemic and decide to allocate billions in state and federal relief.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."