U.S. Economic Outlook Report: April 2022

Report summary

Over the past month, two trends have cemented themselves in the economic realm: Hot inflation will be with us for some time, and interest rates are rising at a faster pace than previously expected. To date, consumers have been handling these challenges quite well, but the outlook going forward is a bit more dicey.

Key Takeaways

  • Morning Consult’s Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS) hit a new series low in midMarch as elevated inflation, financial volatility and the impacts of war in Ukraine clouded consumers’ views of economic conditions.
  • Lost pay and income fell to a series low as employers held onto workers, signaling that they remain more concerned about retaining sufficient workers than they are about downsizing employment rolls to prepare for a potential drop in demand.
  • Americans reported modest improvements in their personal financial situations as the labor market continued to support wage growth and tax refunds provided a one-time income boost for those who filed early.

About the authors

A headshot photograph of John Leer
John Leer
Chief Economist

John Leer leads Morning Consult’s global economic research, overseeing the company’s economic data collection, validation and analysis. He is an authority on the effects of consumer preferences, expectations and experiences on purchasing patterns, prices and employment.

John continues to advance scholarship in the field of economics, recently partnering with researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland to design a new approach to measuring consumers’ inflation expectations.

This novel approach, now known as the Indirect Consumer Inflation Expectations measure, leverages Morning Consult’s high-frequency survey data to capture unique insights into consumers’ expectations for future inflation.

Prior to Morning Consult, John worked for Promontory Financial Group, offering strategic solutions to financial services firms on matters including credit risk modeling and management, corporate governance, and compliance risk management.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and philosophy with honors from Georgetown University and a master’s degree in economics and management studies (MEMS) from Humboldt University in Berlin. 

His analysis has been cited in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Washington Post, The Economist and more.

Follow him on Twitter @JohnCLeer. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]

A headshot photograph of Kayla Bruun
Kayla Bruun
Senior Economist

Kayla Bruun is a senior economist at decision intelligence company Morning Consult, where she analyzes consumer spending, inflation and household finance trends, leveraging the company’s proprietary high-frequency data.

Prior to joining Morning Consult, Kayla was a key member of the corporate strategy team at telecommunications company SES, where she produced market intelligence and industry analysis of mobility markets. 

Kayla also served as an economist at IHS Markit, where she covered global services industries, provided price forecasts, produced written analyses and served as a subject-matter expert on client-facing consulting projects. 

Kayla earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Emory University and an MBA with a certificate in nonmarket strategy from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.

Follow her on Twitter @KaylaBruun. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected]

A headshot photograph of Jesse Wheeler
Jesse Wheeler
Senior Economist

Jesse Wheeler previously worked at Morning Consult as a senior economist.

Lori Helwing is the Financial Markets Economist for Morning Consult, where she leads the company’s analytical and forecasting efforts for the broader economy. She brings over 20 years of experience on Wall Street and specializes in a non-traditional, bottom-up approach that quickly incorporates real-time data for more accurate near- and medium-term forecasts of economic growth. Lori’s prior roles include serving as Chief US Economist at Point72 Asset Management where she worked closely with in-house traders and portfolio managers, a US Economist position at Merrill Lynch/Bank of America generating research for institutional clients, and a Global Economic Analyst at Wellington Management working with a broad array of fixed income and equity investors.