Store shelves are filling again, just not car lots

A growing concern among economists and investors is that retailers have been rebuilding inventories rapidly recently, potentially turning what had been partly empty shelves into excess supply. And indeed, the data on inventories held by various categories of US retailers, while lagged, shows evidence of rapidly normalizing (or even excessive) inventories in many areas except for those selling cars and related products. While this might relieve some of the inflation pressure facing consumers and the Fed, it would also imply lower earnings and economic growth, at least for a while.

Tracking the supply chain

Problems with the “supply chain” have been a key topic among investors, consumers, business managers, and political leaders. While we cannot offer an easy fix for what is an extremely complex and global issue, we can identify some potentially useful quantitative metrics to watch to help track developments in the supply chain, rather than relying on interesting but unreliable anecdotal evidence (e.g. what product you couldn’t find at the store yesterday).