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U.S. consumers still haven’t slowed their spending, despite big recession fears

July 8, 2022, 9:55 AM UTC

Good morning.

Some new data from Mastercard yesterday that confirms the notion that U.S. consumers, regardless of what they are telling the consumer confidence surveys, haven’t yet slowed their spending. Overall consumer spending, excluding automotive, was up 9.5% year over year in June. And leading the way was a massive boom in travel, with airline spending up 18.2% year over year and lodging up 33.7% year over year. Restaurants are up 11.6%, and even jewelry is up 16.2%. In short, the “recession” is everywhere but in the numbers. This morning’s U.S. employment report will be another important indicator. 

Meanwhile, for the optimists among you, Fortune’s Will Daniel’s has found five signs that inflation is moderating even without a recession. That’s encouraging, but what it misses is that demand, as noted above, is still strong, and the battle for talent continues to rage. I wouldn’t assume the inflation battle will be won that easily.

Fortune will be making its contribution to the travel boom next week by bringing several hundred people to Aspen for our Brainstorm Tech conference. It starts with a Monday morning bike ride up Maroon Bells. If I survive that, I’ll be reporting from Aspen for the rest of the week.

Other news below.

Alan Murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com

TOP NEWS

Abe assassinated

Japan’s former leader Shinzo Abe—the country's longest-serving prime minister—was assassinated today while giving a campaign speech in the city of Nara. As video of the incident shows, the assassin shot him from behind with what may have been a homemade weapon (Japan has extremely strict gun laws.) The man, reportedly a former member of the Japanese navy, was arrested. Abe died in hospital, having sustained chest and neck injuries. He stepped down as prime minister nearly a year ago due to a long-term health issue. Fortune

Data doomsday

Facebook and Instagram may be banned from sending European users’ data back to the U.S. as soon as late September, following a draft decision by the privacy regulator in Ireland, where Meta’s EU operations are based. Unless the U.S. reins in its intelligence services, this really is going to happen, and Meta will not be the last Big Tech firm to have to pull out of Europe. It’s not just the U.S., either: as Fortune reports exclusively, the watchdog yesterday also sent TikTok a list of concerns about its data transfers to China. Fortune

Theranos conviction

Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani has followed his former business partner and girlfriend Elizabeth Holmes in being found guilty of fraud. The pair duped investors in their $9 billion blood-testing startup Theranos, as well as patients, leading them to believe that Theranos’s machines worked accurately. Fortune

Musk and Twitter

The Washington Post reports that Elon Musk’s Twitter deal is in “serious jeopardy.” It seems Musk’s team is still pushing the (contractually dubious) line that Twitter’s bot figures are unverifiable and can therefore sink the arrangement, and have therefore “stopped engaging in certain discussions around funding for the $44 billion deal.” Washington Post

AROUND THE WATERCOOLER

Abortion experiences

Fortune asked American business leaders to share their abortion experiences, and 14 did. Here’s Perelel’s cofounder and co-CEO, Victoria Thain Gioia: “Having access to what is technically abortion—quick access and safe access—allowed me to have three healthy children today.” Moon Mental Health founder and CEO Linda Kim: “When someone is ready [to have a child], they’re able to move mountains to do the hardest things possible. When they’re not ready, it can cause such tremendous harm.” Fortune

Microplastics

Microplastics have for the first time being found in beef and pork, and in the animals’ blood. A Dutch study found contamination in most meat samples and all blood samples—possibly because microplastics were also in every tested sample of animal feed. It’s a novel discovery, but unsurprising as microplastics are pretty much everywhere now, us included, and we have no idea how it affects our health (or that of the animals). Guardian

Inflation relief

Fortune’s Eamon Barrett reports on the measures countries around the world, from Italy and Germany to Singapore and Japan, are taking to help taxpayers cope with rising consumer prices. Fortune

Russian smartphones

Russia’s smartphone market was turned upside down by the withdrawal of Apple and Samsung, in the wake of the Ukraine invasion. Now, Chinese brands hold 61% of the market, up from 44% a year earlier. Fortune

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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