Retail sales gains slow. Buoyed by Amazon Prime Day sales, retail sales inched up 0.3 percent in October. Core retail sales ticked up 0.2 percent last month as the pace of consumer spending gains returned to normal levels. Future gains in several sectors remain in doubt due to a flurry of new restrictions across the country as coronavirus case counts rise. New York, New Jersey and New Mexico have already announced tighter limitations due to… Read More
October job additions consistent month over month. Employers hired 638,000 personnel last month, modestly below the 672,000 positions created in September. This more consistent level of job creation reflects the benefits of continued economic reopenings, although the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases presents fresh concerns. The rate of infection has roughly doubled since the October employment data was collected and the possibility of new lockdowns or warinesses to gather in person may… Read More
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.
U.S. records strongest quarterly gain on record. Reopening local economies pushed GDP growth to 33.1 percent in the summer quarter. Although the gain was on the high end of expectations, the overall economy remains 3.5 percent below the level at the end of last year. Following strict shutdowns in April and May, most states began to relax restrictions on nonessential businesses to some degree. At the same time, CARES Act stimulus started reaching households as… Read More
Consumer spending gains strong in September. After the pace of retail sales growth slowed in August following the end of CARES Act stimulus, shoppers accelerated activity by 1.9 percent in September. Year over year, core retail sales are up 5.9 percent. A combination of healthy payroll growth, back-to-school spending, and disaster-relief unemployment aid supported the increase. Retailers in every state have been permitted to open their doors, though the capacity restrictions vary across the country.… Read More
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