📈 Recession Depression
We’re surfing economic waves, swimming in investment tips, and drowning in obsolete job skills.
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With all the lovable hijinks we pack into each newsletter, it’s only a matter of time before we reveal that Trendlines is actually just three charts in a (Gradient-branded) trenchcoat.
But late August and trenchcoats don’t mix, so perhaps a Gradient-branded t-shirt is more appropriate. Refer Trendlines to your friends and colleagues and you can earn the t-shirt you didn’t know existed until five seconds ago, along with cash and other sweet, sweet swag. Just one referral is all you need to earn some cash, which we assume you’ll put toward your next trenchcoat purchase. Scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to check out our updated rewards program!
If you’re still not sold on referring Trendlines, wait till you see the data-driven insights we’ve precariously stacked underneath a long, beige outer garment, such as:
Squinting at our MC Escher painting of an economy to determine whether it’s the staircase or the economy that’s receding.
Investing in whichever brand promises to make the athleisure version of a trenchcoat.
Cowering in fear at the possibility that both The Great AI Job Replacement and the AI itself will have legs.
Major news outlets have warned of a current averted impending recession in the United States for what feels like forever. But with the rising costs of goods, services, and Big Macs, it’s not hard to see why people might not be confident (condiment?) in the economy. After all, as a wise man once said, cash rules everything around me (cream?).
But why rely on headlines, economic indicators, or burger prices to tell us whether we are in a recession when there are perfectly good vibes to be measured? So we asked Americans whether they believe the United States is in a recession.
Three in four Americans (73%) believe the United States is currently in a recession. Younger generations are most likely to say that we are currently in a recession, while Boomers are the group least likely to agree. Which makes sense, given that back in their day they had to walk 5 10 25 miles uphill in the snow barefoot to experience sustained economic downturn.
When asked which products and services Americans prioritize during a recession, an overwhelming majority (81%) list groceries, followed by going to the doctor (44%). In a distant third place, streaming services (17%) barely edge out investing (16%) as a priority among respondents. We’d like to think that if you bought enough shares of Netflix, they might let you share your password with friends.
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We’ve stopped watching after the first act of enough dystopian movies to know that technological advances are unequivocally good. Yet, a growing chorus of experts warn that language-based artificial intelligence (AI) like ChatGPT will disproportionately impact white-collar jobs, perhaps even replacing them in large numbers. Hopefully, these experts are just Mad (Max) or playing (May)tricks on us, and their opinions will be Total-ly Recall-ed. Blade Runner.
Are American workers checking under their ergonomic keyboards for lurking AI replacements? Of those who are currently employed, 63% feel their job is at least somewhat threatened by AI. And among those who are worried about AI in the workplace, job loss ranks as their number one concern. We’ve watched the first act of enough romantic comedies to know that Americans will feel a lot better about their new artificial coworkers once the AI gets a haircut and takes off its glasses.
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Gradient is a cross-functional team of industry analysts, market researchers, data scientists, technologists, and storytellers who help organizations uncover missed opportunities, find new layers of clarity, and pioneer new directions with confidence and statistical integrity. We work with startups, Fortune 100 brands, consulting firms, and political campaigns.