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Jamie Dimon says Americans are spending all their money because of inflation—and that could tip the U.S. into a recession next year

Fortune
Fortune
 2022-12-06

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Jamie Dimon is worried that U.S. consumers could spend away their savings as inflation continues to bite, sending the economy into a recession next year.

The JPMorgan Chase CEO said on Tuesday that consumers still have $1.5 trillion more “in their checking accounts” than they did prior to the pandemic, but warned that that may not last.

Americans are spending 10% more than they did a year ago due to inflation and rising interest rates, Dimon said, and they’re tapping into their savings to do so.

The personal savings rate —which measures consumers’ savings as a percentage of their disposable income—fell to just 2.3% in October, well below the over 9% figure seen before the pandemic.

“Inflation is eroding everything,” Dimon told CNBC . “[T]hat trillion and a half dollars will run out sometime midyear next year. So when you’re looking out forward, those things may very well derail the economy and cause the mild or hard recession that people worry about.”

Dimon has warned since May that the U.S. could experience a recession next year as consumer spending falters, arguing that economic “ storm clouds ” could turn into a full-blown “ hurricane .”

“There’s storm clouds. It could mitigate; it could be a hurricane. We simply don’t know, and as a risk manager I prepare for both,” he said on Tuesday, repeating his previous warnings.

At the Fortune Global Forum last month, Dimon broke down his view on the odds of a U.S. recession to Fortune CEO Alan Murry.

“I think there’s about a 5% chance of a soft landing…maybe about a 30% chance of a mild recession, and maybe a 30% chance of a harder recession—think a possibility of 6% unemployment,” he said. “And then I think there’s another 30% chance of something else—maybe stagflation or something we don’t expect.”

While Dimon warned about consumers’ fading spending power and a potential recession in 2023 this week, he also noted that the U.S. is in a good position relative to its peers.

“The United States economy is the strongest economy in the world today. So we should celebrate that a little bit,” he said.

U.S. consumers and the labor market have been surprisingly resilient over the past few months, despite some of the most aggressive interest rate hikes in history .

Consumer spending rose 0.5% in October month to month when adjusted for inflation—the biggest increase since January. Americans also spent a record $11.3 billion on Cyber Monday. And the U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs last month, with the unemployment rate sticking near pre-pandemic lows at 3.7%.

Dimon argued the main risk to the economy may come from issues abroad, however, including fracturing supply chains, rising commodity prices, and war.

“There’s a lot of geopolitical upheaval,” he said, adding that emerging-market countries will pay a “heavy price” for high commodity prices, rising interest rates, and the strong dollar. “I don’t think we’ve seen that kind of turmoil in the global world in a long time.”

Dimon isn’t the only business leader preparing for the possibility of an economic hurricane. Some 98% of CEOs expect a recession could hit the U.S. within the next 12 to 18 months. And top economists, like Queens’ College, Cambridge president Mohamed El-Erian, have warned that the economy is not just on the cusp of a recession but “in the midst of a profound economic and financial shift.”

This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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Comments / 754

William Hess
12-06

This dumpster 🔥 of a presidency has put illegals before Americans, China before the US, and criminals before their victims. They just cancelled the quarterly oil & gas leases for the 7th time in 2 years and have only held one sale in 2 years, when the law clearly states they have to hold it QUARTERLY. Once title 42 ends it's going to be no holds barred and we're going to have 20 million illegals entering this country over the 4 years this administration is in office. Biden has to be impeached but sadly that won't solve anything. Texas needs to step up and keep flying them to places like Martha's vineyard, if only to put it back in the MSM.

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gb204
12-06

Just wait till January, when people start to file their taxes, and they get only 1/2 or 1/3 of what they usually get for tax return ! Because of changes that Biden has changed

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Patriot 1st
12-06

He is right. When it comes to people spending more money it's because prices are higher with most products costing 10 to 50% more. So the amount of money spent on the same amount of goods is way higher. I get the same amount of groceries and gas but spend 25% more then I did in 2020.

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