Research Brief: Unemployment – March 2020

Coronavirus pandemic brings job creation to a halt. A record 3.28 million workers filed for jobless benefits in the week ending March 21 as the impact of COVID-19 hit the U.S. economy, putting an end to the nation’s historic run of employment gains. Applications for unemployment insurance last week surged to nearly five times the previous record as millions of companies have issued layoffs or furloughs. Many service businesses like hotels, restaurants, barber shops, gyms… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – March 2020

Employment growth remains strong. Employers added 273,000 positions in February, the strongest pace of job creation since May 2018. Figures from December and January were also revised up by a combined 85,000 jobs, producing an average monthly gain of 243,300 roles over the past three months. Hiring averaged 177,800 personnel per month last year. February’s robust recruiting metrics were sufficient to keep the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.5 percent, a 49-year low. Joblessness has remained below… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – February 2020

Better-than-expected job additions do not sway forecasts. Employers added 225,000 positions to payrolls in the first month of 2020, starting the year off on a strong foot after an average of 176,000 roles were created per month in 2019. Investors should not assume, however, that January’s more positive figures will herald accelerated growth in 2020. Both 2018 and 2019 began with elevated job creation, only for the pace of employment growth to moderate as time… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – January 2020

December job additions affirm steady growth for 2019. Employers expanded payrolls by 145,000 positions in December, bringing the total number of jobs created in 2019 to 2.1 million. That is below the total for 2018 but close to the number of roles added in 2017. The moderate but steady pace of employment growth sustained the 49-year low unemployment rate of 3.5 percent in December.

Research Brief: Retail Sales – December 2019

Evolving shopping behavior drives spending to record high. Sales growth for Black Friday and Cyber Monday neared 20 percent as consumers sustained robust spending patterns. Digital channels delivered strong growth during the four-day weekend, with online sales on Black Friday hitting a record-high $7.4 billion and Cyber Monday posting the largest online shopping day in the nation’s history with spending reaching $9.4 billion. Though internet sales captured headlines, retailers’ strengthening blend of physical and online… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – December 2019

Job creation soars in November. The U.S. economy added 266,000 positions in November, the largest monthly gain since January. The surge in hiring was lifted by the resolution of the General Motors-United Auto Workers Union strike, returning 41,000 auto workers to payrolls. However, even omitting these positions, an above-average 225,000 personnel were still added. The month’s robust hiring lowered the unemployment rate 10 basis points to 3.5 percent, matching the historical low. Healthcare hiring driving… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – October 2019

Consumer spending active in midst of uncertainty. For the second consecutive month, core retail sales generated 4.5 percent annual growth as the softening economic outlook had little effect on shopping habits. While spending has moderated relative to last year, consumption trends are gaining traction, setting the stage for a potentially strong holiday season.

Research Brief: Financial Markets – October 2019

Fed remains accommodative. In an effort to lengthen the economic runway, the Federal Reserve on Oct. 30 cut the overnight rate by 25 basis points for the third time in 100 days. Domestic growth has been moderating this year, falling to 1.9 percent in the third quarter as the trade war with China curtailed exports and ebbed inventory investment. With tariffs on Chinese goods increasingly coming into play, the economy could face additional pressure, but… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – October 2019

Job growth continues at subdued but consistent pace. Organizations added about 136,000 positions in September, slightly down from the 168,000 roles filled in August. The more modest rate of employment growth nevertheless exceeded the number of new entrants into the workforce, sustaining the current labor shortage. Employers’ staffing needs will support the hiring of about 2 million personnel by year end. Potential economic headwinds, originating from trade tensions and other factors, create some risk of… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – September 2019

Unemployment stays flat as hiring activity trends down. Employers created 130,000 jobs in August, the lowest monthly total since May. Year to date, approximately 1.3 million people have been added to payrolls, compared with 1.9 million during the same time period in 2018. While employment growth slowed, the total number of unemployed remained about the same month to month, maintaining a jobless rate of 3.7 percent.