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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 2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.