Third quarter economic growth was expected to disappoint, and at a mere 2% on an annual basis in Thursday’s report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis it sure did. The economy fell into stagflation in the last three months, and the issue is whether it can fight its way back out.
Stagflation is a term that arose in the 1970s to describe an economy marked by slow growth but rising prices. Think of the baseball prospect who is a bad hitter but a poor fielder. We’ve been reluctant to predict stagflation’s return given what should be a robust recovery from the pandemic destruction. But there’s no doubt from the government data that it arrived this summer.