Why The 1960s Can Help Us Understand Our Confusing Economic Mood

Why The 1960s Can Help Us Understand Our Confusing Economic Mood

The comments below are an edited and abridged synopsis of an article by Ben Werschkul, Washington Correspondent, Yahoo Finance

Economic observers and historians often look to different historical eras to help us understand the current landscape.

Why The 1960s Can Help Us Understand Our Confusing Economic Mood - BullionBuzz - BMG

The late 1970s come up frequently at the moment, with its fears of stagflation and an aggressive Fed response providing clear echoes to today.

But perhaps the 1960s is a better lens to help unpack at least one key puzzle of our current era: America’s funky economic mood.

Observers spent last year trying to understand why good economic news—from a record-setting stock market and millions of new jobs to rapidly falling inflation—isn’t being reflected by the public.

The parallels with the 1960s are clear. That decade saw a combination of the third-longest stretch of uninterrupted expansion in US history with widespread public pessimism.

Inflation intruded on the public consciousness, however. Economic worries about rising prices later in the decade were a drag on the public mood.

The complicated role of the economy in the 1960s is a similar phenomenon to that of today. Are Americans currently upset about the US economy for pocketbook reasons? Or are they importing concerns about social issues and politics into their assessment of the nation’s finances?

The current mood seems to be on the upswing, with a consumer sentiment survey showing its highest reading since 2021. But it has a long way to go, with consumer confidence still more than 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

It’s also unclear whether the campaign between President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will further drag down the national mood.

Up for discussion: How the economy shaped the 1960s and our current era; and will 2024 end up being remembered like 1968.