This Week In Foodservice

Jerry Stiegler aggregates key industry information and provides brief analysis to help foodservice professionals navigate the data.


Famed Economist Pleads the Case for Government Assistance

Restaurants need government assistance now. Papa John’s grows its business by adding new customers not selling more food to existing ones. A Stanford study that refers to restaurants as COVID-19 “superspreaders” is highly flawed, according to the National Restaurant Association. These stories and more This Week in Foodservice.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb across the country, leaders at the state and local level continue to curb on-premises dining in various ways, placing continued strain on the restaurant industry. Unfortunately, at present there does not seem to be any activity with respect to a stimulus package and we don’t know what or when restaurants can expect any government assistance.

Economist Jason Furman nailed the problem in a Nov. 12 op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal entitled “The Economy Can’t Wait Until January.” Furman, who a professor at Harvard and served as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2013 to 2017, makes a strong case that stimulus is necessary right now because the U.S. is down 10 million jobs since February. In other words, the economy is much weaker than it was when the pandemic began. State and local governments were in much better shape financially, too. Furman says stimulus money is necessary to control the virus and he contends that every day that passes without funding is costly in lives and jobs.

Economic News This Week

  • Initial jobless claims totaled 709,000, a decline of 48,000 for the week ending November 7. The 4-week moving average totaled 655,250, a decline of 33,250. The slow downward trend, while positive, still indicates thousands of people continue lose their jobs every week.
  • Consumer credit increased 4.7% in September, per the Federal Reserve Board. Revolving credit, mostly credit card debt, rose 4.8% after declining for most of this year. Non-revolving credit (auto loans, student loans, etc.) increased at annual rate of 4.6%.
  • The October Producer Price Index for Final Demand advanced 0.3%. In the 12-month period ending in October final demand was up 0.5%. Without the volatile food and energy sectors, final demand was unchanged from September to October.
  • The October Consumer Price Index for All Items was unchanged from September. Without food and energy prices the index also remained unchanged. In the last 12 months the index rose 1.2%.
  • The University of Michigan’s Survey of Consumer Sentiment dropped to 77.0 in November from 81.1 in October, according to preliminary data. The Current Economic Condition Index was virtually unchanged coming in at 85.8 in November, a 0.1 difference from October. The Index of Consumer Expectations fell to 71.3 in November from 79.2 in October. A spokesman for the university said it does not look for much improvement in consumer sentiment until a coronavirus vaccine is approved and distributed.

Foodservice News This Week

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