NEWPORT BEACH – Six internal factors suggest that the United States’ economy is slowly healing. For some observers, these factors were deemed sufficient to form the critical mass needed to propel the economy into escape velocity.
While I hoped that they might be proven right, the recent stream of weak economic data, including May’s timid net job creation of only 69,000, confirmed my doubts. With this and other elements of a disheartening employment report now suddenly raising widespread worries about the underlying health and durability of America’s recovery, it is important to understand the positive factors and why they are not enough as yet.
For starters, large US multinational companies are as healthy as I have ever seen them. Their cash balances are extremely high, interest payments on debt are low, and principal obligations have been termed out. Many of them are successfully tapping into buoyant demand in emerging economies, generating significant free cash flow.
Company cash is not the only source of considerable spending power waiting on the sidelines. Rich households also hold significant resources that could be deployed in support of both consumption and investment.