Reports

Research Brief: Retail Sales – October 2021

Consumer spending sturdy last month. Unfazed by the end of federal unemployment benefits and other dissipating stimulus, core retail sales increased 0.7 percent in September and 13.5 percent from the same period last year. Although inflation, which climbed 0.4 percent last month, was a contributing factor to the rise, the overall spending picture remained brighter than anticipated. Lingering back-to-school shopping and wider office openings contributed to the gains as apparel and gas station spending advanced… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – October 2021

Hiring slows again in September. The complete expiration of federal unemployment insurance did not translate into accelerated job growth last month as the health crisis continued to present challenges. Employers added 194,000 personnel to payrolls in September, barely above the monthly average from more typical years such as 2018. Logistical logjams, infection worries and vaccine mandates contributed to last month’s slowdown; however, the greatest weight came from the public sector. Government payrolls fell by 123,000… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – September 2021

Core retail sales reverse course in August. Shoppers remained active at the end of the summer, driven by online spending and back-to-school sales. Overall, core retail sales increased by 2.0 percent between July and August, largely due to an increase in nonstore spending of 5.3 percent. More people stayed home in some areas of the country to avoid the challenges associated with the much more contagious delta strain of COVID-19. Others kept away from restaurants,… Read More

Research Brief: Housing Market – September 2021

Tight multifamily vacancy supports permit surge. Across the residential sector, permit activity climbed in August. The rise was mostly attributed to multifamily, as filings for single-family houses remained relatively in line with preceding months. Meanwhile, apartment permits soared 15 percent month over month, reaching the highest level since June 2015. Greater construction is warranted by extremely tight vacancy, as apartment availability in June fell below 4 percent for just the second time in the past… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – September 2021

Health concerns slowed hiring last month. Job creation declined substantially in August as 235,000 positions were added, down from the 1.05 million personnel brought on in July. Job losses in many high-contact service roles contributed to the decrease, reflecting the negative impact of rising COVID-19 infections. Facing greater health risks, some individuals opted not to apply for such roles. Many employers have also imposed vaccine mandates, adding new steps to the hiring process. Growth is… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – August 2021

Consumers tapped brakes on spending last month. Core retail sales dipped 0.7 percent on a monthly basis in July. Flattening consumer confidence likely indicates that the increase in coronavirus cases due to the delta variant is impacting shopping behavior. Clothing store sales, for instance, declined 2.6 percent last month, while department stores reported a 0.3 percent decline. The termination of federal unemployment benefits in roughly half of U.S. states may have also impacted retail sales… Read More

Research Brief: Housing Market – August 2021

Completions climb to a three-month high. Builders finalized more single-family and multifamily housing units combined in July than in either of the previous two months. Deliveries will likely trend higher in the coming quarters as well. The moderation in the cost of a few key materials, most notably lumber, has boosted permit activity and is helping the pipeline of stalled residential developments move toward the finish line. In July, apartment permit filings lifted by 10… Read More

Research Brief: Eviction Moratorium – August 2021

Rising infections prompt moratorium extension. On Aug. 3 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention enacted a new order halting residential evictions in counties with substantial or high levels of COVID-19 community transmission. As of Aug. 17, most counties in the U.S. met that criteria, effectively extending a ban on residential evictions that has been in place in one form or another since April 2020. Once the order expires, currently slated for Oct. 3, pending… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – August 2021

 Unemployment steadily tightens. Job creation surpassed 900,000 new positions for the second consecutive month in July, lowering the unemployment rate 50 basis points month over month to 5.4 percent. While above the historically low 3.5 percent unemployment recorded just prior to the pandemic, the measure is still below the 5.9 percent average from 2000-2019. The restoration of 16.7 million jobs has been the driving force behind this drop in unemployment, although the exit of about… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – July 2021

Consumer spending continues to grow. In June, core retail sales increased 1.1 percent as Americans continued to use money accumulated from stimulus and savings. Although more spending is aimed at services due to the broad reopening, plenty of new cash in the system supported growth for traditional retailers. Nonetheless, rapidly rising inflation, which measured 0.9 percent last month, dampens the better-than-anticipated retail sales figure. A portion of the increase comes from higher prices rather than… Read More