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Research Brief: Employment – May 2022

Hiring continues amid low unemployment. Employers added 428,000 new jobs in April, on par with the previous month. While the employment base remains about 1.2 million positions short of the February 2020 headcount, multiple signs point to a recovered labor market. Last month 5.9 million people were unemployed, only 200,000 above the pre-pandemic mark. The underemployment rate also fell to 7.0 percent in April, matching the February 2020 level. This measure takes into account part-time workers… Read More

Research Brief: Financial Markets – May 2022

Fed continues along established stratagem to combat inflation. On May 4 the Federal Reserve raised the Federal Funds rate by 50 basis points in the second of seven planned rate hikes for the year. Now at a target range between 0.75 percent and 1.00 percent, the effective overnight lending rate is expected to climb to the 2 percent to 3 percent zone before the start of 2023 if the Fed continues with this strategy. Numerous forces… Read More

Research Brief: Gross Domestic Product 2Q 2022

First quarter GDP contraction not a concern. Gross domestic product fell by an annualized rate of 1.4 percent in the opening quarter of 2022. The reduction was driven predominantly by a widening trade deficit, as import volumes climbed rapidly while exports declined. With stimulus concluded, less government spending also contributed to lower GDP. Excluding these two categories, metrics were much more positive. Personal consumption and private investment both added to GDP last quarter, and domestic… Read More

Research Brief: Inflation – April 2022

Inflation pressures persist. The Consumer Price Index increased by another multidecade high margin in March as multiple factors drive ongoing upward price movements. The widespread economic shutdown in 2020 led to unprecedented levels of fiscal stimulus, engorging the money supply, while the Federal Reserve also boosted liquidity by cutting lending rates and offering new programs. Aided by this support, consumer demand leapt ahead of supply as the economy unevenly reopened, hindered by a logjammed global supply… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales- April 2022

Tangible locations account for larger slice of total retail sales. Store-based retail sales, which excludes online purchases and spending at restaurants and bars, represented nearly two-thirds of all retail sales in March, the largest proportion this year. The 2.1 percent rise in store-based spending recorded last month suggests consumer mobility is improving, and physical stores are noting a rise in foot traffic as health conditions improve and mandates are lifted. Receding online sales during the… Read More

Research Brief: Multifamily – April 2022

Leasing volumes robust. After encountering a disproportionate number of hurdles in 2020 and early 2021, apartment demand has soared in the nation’s gateway metros. During recent months, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago challenged Sun Belt and Mountain/Desert hot spot metros like Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and Phoenix for the country’s largest increases in occupied units.

Research Brief: Return to Office Outlook – April 2022

Omicron a minor setback, but attitudes are shifting. Before the omicron wave, office leasing activity had reached its highest levels since the onset of the pandemic. The space available for sublease also declined, most importantly in central business districts. Omicron interrupted this positive trend, raising vacancy in CBDs by an estimated 30 basis points in the first quarter of 2022, while suburban rates remained stable. The subsequent slowdown in cases is welcome news for office… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – April 2022

Unemployment rate nears parity with pre-pandemic. Staff counts expanded by 431,000 in March, helping lower the unemployment rate to 3.6 percent — only 10 basis points above the February 2020 measure. Weekly initial jobless claims have also fallen to levels comparable with before the health crisis. Overall, the labor market has generally returned to where it was just about two years prior, which is a more rapid improvement than in previous recessions. It took over… Read More

Research Brief: Housing Market – 1Q 2022

Home prices climbing, despite a slowdown in buying. For the first time since 2019, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage breached 4 percent in March, then accelerated at an even faster pace, following the Fed’s first interest rate hike in over four years. Higher mortgage rates make houses less affordable, in an environment where elevated prices are already an inhibiting factor. In February, fewer existing homes sold than in any of the previous five… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – March 2022

Retail sales mixed in February. Consumer spending increased a modest 0.3 percent last month, although much of the gain was driven by climbing fuel prices. Excluding energy costs, core retail sales retreated 0.4 percent in February, as widespread inflation eroded some consumption. Spending was nevertheless 15.8 percent above the same level last year, indicative of an overall more active consumer base. In a potential benefit to physical properties, the largest drag last month came from… Read More