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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

Jun 23, 2021 - Economy & Business

Online grocery's staying power

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Visuals

Online grocery was a minuscule part of food retail before the pandemic. Now, about 60% of U.S. consumers have bought groceries online in the last 12 months, and most of them plan to keep doing so post-pandemic, according to a report from Coresight Research.

Why it matters: The rise of online food shopping is leaving behind smaller chains or mom-and-pop grocers that can't afford to offer delivery — turning grocery into a survival of the biggest players.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Jun 23, 2021 - Economy & Business

The small business boom

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau via John C. Haltiwanger of the University of Maryland; Chart: Axios Visuals

One of the most unexpected pandemic winners might just turn out to be new small businesses.

Why it matters: The number of entrepreneurs starting a business easily hit a record high in 2020, according to a new analysis by University of Maryland economist John Haltiwanger. That's a surprising result, given the severity of the crisis.

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.