Research Brief: Employment – June 2024

Labor market moving closer to equilibrium even amid strong hiring. Total employment increased by 272,000 in May, coming in above the average monthly gain year-to-date. Despite this uptick in job creation, there are several signs that overall labor demand is cooling and moving closer in line with labor supply. Nearly half of last month’s hiring was concentrated in just two main employment sectors, which includes roles in government. It is likely that public sector staffing needs… Read More

Research Brief: Inflation – May 2024

Key CPI measures resume descent. Annual growth in the headline and core consumer price indices — the latter of which omits food and energy — lowered to 3.4 and 3.6 percent in April, respectively. While bumpy inflation over the last few months curbed Wall Street  expectations for near-term overnight lending rate cuts by the Federal Reserve, April’s cooler readings suggest the Fed is still making meaningful progress in bringing pricing pressures down. Further stripping out housing… Read More

Research Brief: Gross Domestic Product – April 2024

Key GDP growth contributors post positive results. Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 1.6 percent during the first quarter of 2024. While this is a deceleration from the 3.4 percent rate from the final quarter of last year, the economy still grew in several areas. U.S. residents continued to spend robustly, with final sales to private domestic purchasers up 6.1 percent annualized, the best mark in a year. Residential and non-residential… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – April 2024

Most store types report encouraging start to 2024. Consumers set a new benchmark for quarterly retail sales volume in the first three months of 2024 — roughly $1.55 trillion. Spending during the January-March span was up 3 percent when compared to the same period last year, despite slackening consumer confidence. This recent rise in spending occurred alongside consumers spreading their purchases across more types of retail, with seven of 10 major categories notching gains. While still… Read More

Research Brief: Inflation – April 2024

Energy cost spike bumps up inflation. Mounting costs for gasoline and electricity kept overall inflation elevated over the 12-month period ending in March. The headline CPI measure grew by 3.5 percent during the span, ticking up as the energy index moved into positive territory for the first time since February 2023. Geopolitical conflict, spring-season travel, and energy providers shifting operations amid warmer weather contributed to these higher costs. Fortunately, the seasonality of rising energy prices suggests… Read More

Special Report: Office Indicators – April 2024

Early Signs Point to Improving Office Sector; Investment Trends Begin to Reflect Changes During the fourth quarter of last year, office net absorption exited the red for the first time in 15 months, pulling nationwide vacancy down 10 basis points. Over 21 million square feet on net was newly occupied between October and December, comparable to an average quarter in 2019. Nearly three-fourths of all major U.S. markets recorded positive net absorption. Key Features Include:… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – April 2024

March logs the 39th straight month of job gains. Employment growth reached a 10-month high in March as 303,000 positions were added, while the unemployment rate adjusted down to 3.8 percent. Hiring was most prominent in health care, government, construction, and leisure and hospitality. Additions in health care and leisure and hospitality, in particular, should help ease staffing shortages in…

Research Brief: Retail Sales – March 2024

Consumers’ priorities reflected in annual gains. While the 2.2 percent year-over-year gain in total core retail sales reported in February failed to match the 3.8 percent rise in core CPI, three key categories bucked this trend. Rising sales amid moderating or falling prices point to what purchases households are prioritizing amid tightening budgets. Factoring in inflation, apparel sales rose 1.3 percent year-over-year in real terms last month, while electronics and appliance sales grew by…

Research Brief: Inflation – March 2024

Inflation trends cloud Fed’s path. Still-elevated inflation is leading Wall Street participants to delay expectations for the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates this year — shifting from spring to summer. Alongside strong hiring in the opening months of 2024, February’s higher headline CPI reading contributed to the Federal Open Market Committee’s  decision to hold the federal funds rate at a 5.25 percent lower bound in March. Fortunately, core CPI, which strips out the more… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – March 2024

Rising unemployment releases pressure on inflation. Employment growth accelerated in February with 275,000 jobs created, yet the unemployment rate also rose by 20 basis points to 3.9 percent. While the highest rate of unemployment in 25 months may be interpreted as a negative signal, in this case some labor market softening could be a positive sign, especially when paired with healthy employment growth. After more than two years of sub-4 percent unemployment, the additional 150,000 people… Read More