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We're on track for a soft economic landing, but it still feels like the economy stinks

Dan DeFrancesco   

We're on track for a soft economic landing, but it still feels like the economy stinks
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Hello! Next time you shop at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls and speak to an employee, be sure to smile — you might be on camera. Some stores are having workers wear body cameras to deter shoplifters.

In today's big story, we're looking at why the US economy is on track (again) for a soft economic landing. (This time it might be for real.)

What's on deck:

But first, we're cleared for landing.

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The big story

Another economic turnaround

It took longer than expected, but the US economy is finally on track for a soft landing.

After a scary few months of economic data that had investors fearing a recession and stagflation, the tides have turned again.

Recent data showing inflation and the labor market cooling have given hope that a soft landing is in the cards — and may even be underway — for the US economy, writes Business Insider's Madison Hoff.

Before we get any further, I understand your hesitancy to buy into the economic predictions of an industry that has largely gotten it wrong.

The year started with optimism of more rate cuts than the Fed was projecting amid a Goldilocks economy. But those dreams were quickly dashed when inflation unexpectedly ticked up in the first quarter.

More recently, the data has been moving in the right direction again. Fears of an interest-rate hike, an absolute nightmare scenario for the market, have completely subsided. And the Fed's long-promised relief might finally be back on the menu.

But why does it still feel like the economy stinks?

Even though a recession hasn't materialized, a "vibecession" has had Americans feeling bummed for the past few years.

Inflation cooling should help with that. But it's still above pre-pandemic levels, which might be why many Americans aren't convinced things are getting better.

But a slowing job market is the real killer of people's perception of the economy. The shift is necessary for the Fed to consider rate cuts, but it poses a problem for Americans who feel their dollar doesn't go as far.

Yes, unemployment remains low, but people also don't have the opportunity to find new jobs that might pay better. The end result has plenty of people feeling trapped.

Interest-rate cuts, which could come as soon as September, could change that. The relief might make businesses feel more comfortable getting aggressive with hiring.

But there's no guarantee the habits picked up when times were tough — like Big Tech's "year of efficiency" — aren't here for good.

3 things in markets

  1. So about that soft landing… Not everyone is convinced the US economy is heading in the right direction. The French bank SocGen is sticking to its recession prediction, pointing to slowing manufacturing activity as one sign of a potential downturn. UBS also sees plenty of red flags, like retail investors pushing into the market, as a sign of a stock market bubble.
  2. Nvidia joins the $3 trillion club. The AI darling became the second-most-valuable company in the world, reaching a market valuation of $3.01 trillion. Meanwhile, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang is signing women's chests at tech events.
  3. Why the Fed should cut rates in July. Prominent economist Mohamed El-Erian cited a slew of cooling indicators in support of why the Fed should — but probably won't — cut rates next month. "We've had nothing but negative surprises," he told Fox Business.

3 things in tech

  1. Tim Cook is about to announce something big. At Apple's WWDC event on Monday, Cook is expected to unveil the company's newest plans to dominate the internet — this time through a partnership with OpenAI.
  2. Jack Dorsey unwittingly funded a fascist guru's follower. Dorsey gave $10 million to a Twitter alternative, Nostr, and its anonymous founder. A BI investigation uncovered the founder's identity — and discovered he was a follower and student of well-known Brazilian fascist "guru."
  3. How Apple helped Amazon. Apple alerted Amazon to unusual activity with its data-deletion process last year, according to internal docs obtained by BI. It led to an internal investigation which found that AWS was failing to delete data from closed cloud accounts.

3 things in business

  1. Why gentle parenting went bust. Gentle parenting was meant to replace an "authoritarian" form of child-rearing with one grounded in empathy and negotiation. But some parents are discovering the time- and energy-intensive method produces decidedly ambiguous outcomes.
  2. The NBA's new streaming deal could affect your favorite shows. Even if you don't care about basketball, a new deal could bring some change. The Wall Street Journal reported Comcast will be making programming changes to accommodate, and pay for, the new $2.5 billion a year deal.
  3. OpenAI's new deals could be a lifeline or a curse. Sam Altman's AI company has been making a slew of deals with publishers over the past few months, offering cash in exchange for their content. Critics and dealmakers say it could benefit publishers — or blow up in their faces.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Today marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Jack Sommers, deputy editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London. Annie Smith, associate producer, in London.

Correction: June 6, 2024 — An earlier version of this story misstated Novelis shares were expected to commence trading today. Novelis announced the postponement of its IPO due to market conditions on Tuesday evening.

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