U.S. News

Reporter's Notebook: High Gas Prices Won't Hurt U.S. Economy


The record high price of gasoline won't seriously hurt the U.S. economy, predicts CNBC's Senior Economic Correspondent Steve Liesman.  In this Reporter's Notebook discussion with Managing Editor Tyler Mathisen produced exclusively for CNBC.com, Liesman says the economy may suffer a mild case of "tennis elbow" but won't be hit by a more serious "hamstring injury."

Economic Analysis

Liesman says there's "reflexive thinking out there" that high gasoline prices were responsible for an economic recession in the 1970s.  He rejects that point of view, arguing that the downturn 30 years ago was the result of both general weakness in the economy and widespread inflation.  Gas prices alone, he says, won't damage an otherwise strong economy like the one the U.S. enjoys now because he's "hard pressed" to find any measurable impact from gas prices on overall retail sales.  Consumers adjust their behavior to spread out the impact of higher prices, so while some businesses will be affected, the overall economy isn't.

As for Liesman himself, he'll "pay what it takes" to drive to his favorite fishing spot this summer.