Employment base expands at moderated pace. Employers added 661,000 personnel to payrolls in September, restoring 11.4 million of the 22.2 million positions lost in March and April. Despite these gains, last month’s total of under 1 million new roles continued the recent trend of slowing growth.
Consumer spending growth normalizes in August. Retail sales from the U.S. Census provides a glimpse into the pace of an economic expansion without additional support from the legis-lative branch. Much of the stimulus provided by the CARES Act culminated at the end of July and executive action to extend un-employment benefits did not take effect until late August or early September. Even without broad federal support, retail sales still increased 0.6 percent last month to… Read More
Employment growth continues, but pace slowing. Employers added 1.4 million jobs in August, the lowest total of the past four months. The collective gains made over that period have restored nearly half of the 22.2 million roles that were lost in March and April. The job recovery will likely continue but the speed of im-provement will largely depend on the timing, size and scope of the next Congressional stimulus package.
Pandemic alters housing choices. After being sequestered for months, with many people working from home and doing their shopping and schooling online, households are reevaluating their current accommodations. Larger residences with spaces appro-priate for home offices and online learning that also have outdoor space to enhance social distancing are gaining favor. The ability to work remotely has diminished the value of a short commute in the home-search equation, making lower-cost suburban locations more favorable. This… Read More
Consumers unfazed by pandemic. Shoppers drove overall retail sales up 1.2 percent in July to a new record. However, evaporating stimulus could temper or even reverse growth in August. Ex-cluding auto and parts sales, which recorded an unexpected 4.7 percent dip month over month, retail sales advanced 1.9 percent. Despite the rise in sales, retail vacancy ticked up 20 basis points in the second quarter and further erosion is anticipated after thousands of stores announced… Read More
Partial lockdowns moderate hiring in July. The labor market continued to improve last month with the addition of 1.8 million jobs, below June’s gain of 4.8 million personnel. Business closures stemming from a rise in new COVID -19 cases in some parts of the country are slowing the pace of recovery. Total employment remains 12.8 million positions short of the February level and closing that gap will take time as more temporary layoffs become permanent… Read More
Economy suffers most in postwar period. Gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 32.9 percent in the second quarter as businesses were closed or forced into limited operation to prevent overwhelming the nation’s healthcare system. The decline was in line with expectations and sets the stage for a recovery featuring the largest ever gain in GDP in the third quarter of this year. Although the reduction in the broadest measure of the economy highlights the depth… Read More
Stop-and-go economy reflected in consumer confidence. After surging as businesses reopened in June, the Consumer Confidence Index dipped in July as states reinstated some restrictions. The overall index is 92.6, down from 98.3 last month and 132.6 in February. July marks the fourth consecutive month the index has trended below the 100 threshold, following 44 months above the benchmark level. In addition to closures, uncertainty regarding the new level of federally supplemented unemployment benefits, a… Read More
Job growth increases as economic restoration continues. The labor market recovered further in June as unemployment fell 220 basis points to 11.1 percent and 4.8 million people returned to work, the largest monthly job gain on record. While the pace of rehabilitation is accelerating, total employment still lies 9.6 percent below its pre-pandemic level with 14.7 million fewer jobs in the market than in February 2020.
Reopening boosts consumption last month. Consumer spending posted impressive gains for a second consecutive month as states greenlighted a wider range of businesses to resume operations. Total retail sales advanced 7.5 percent last month, building on an 18.2 percent climb in May. The increase pushed year-over-year gains into positive territory, though sales sit well below pre-health crisis levels. In addition to greater access to both service-based and traditional retailers, the magnitude of stimulus pumped into… Read More