Since the Federal Reserve began raising interest rates in March of 2022, there has been a pitched battle of “chicken” between the Fed and the average consumer. The Fed began raising rates about a year after inflation started a dramatic climb to its highest level in some 41 years. Those rate hikes have amounted to five percentage points on the Fed's benchmark to a level not seen since 2007. As a result, all sorts of loans tied to short-term interest rates have skyrocketed. These include credit card rates, home equity lines of credit, car loans, personal loans, and business loans.
The Fed has done its best to force higher borrowing rates on individuals and corporations in the hope that meaningful layoffs will follow, thus driving inflation down over time by lessening demand for products and services. What the Fed did not count on was the resilience of the U.S. consumer, who is experiencing solid wage growth and continues to spend on travel and dining out. Learn more about 2Q2023 and what may be ahead in remainder of 2023.