Research Brief: Employment – June 2021

Unemployment falls in May but job growth misses the mark. Employers added 559,000 personnel to payrolls last month, above the 278,000 positions created in April but below many economists’ expectations. The higher pace of hiring was nevertheless sufficient to drop the unemployment rate 30 basis points in May to 5.8 percent. While markedly below the recent high of 14.8 percent, the measure still exceeds the pre-crisis level by 230 basis points. Despite a shortfall of… Read More

Research Brief: Housing – June 2021

Restrained stock and rising costs pose challenges for developers. Over the past year, a lack of available building materials and skilled labor contributed to sizable surge in prices and delayed or canceled the completion of some residential and commercial real estate projects. Year over year, the cost of lumber has jumped 90 percent and steel pric-es rose 67 percent, while gypsum used to make drywall is up 12 percent and concrete rose 3 percent. Labor… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – May 2021

Retail spending levels off. As the stimulus dissipated, consumer spending dipped 0.8 percent in April as shoppers stepped back from record purchasing. Year over year, core retail sales jumped 37.6 percent, though the annual comparison comes against a backdrop of broad shutdowns in April 2020. Some of the slowdown can be attributed to a wide pause in reopening policy changes last month. Moving forward, however, several modifications are on the horizon that should propel consumer… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – May 2021

Most impacted sectors hire staff; overall job growth slows. The net 266,000 personnel added to payrolls in April fell below the prior month’s 770,000 new positions. While sectors hit hard by economic shutdowns, such as leisure and hospitality, continued to recruit, growth was tempered by losses in other sectors made more necessary by the health crisis. Staff counts at grocery stores as well as in temporary help services and courier services declined in April. The labor… Read More

Research Brief: Gross Domestic Product 1Q 2021

Gross domestic product surges in first quarter due to stimulus. In the opening three months of 2021, GDP jumped an annualized 6.4 percent, supported by consumer spending fueled by government funds. The economy should continue to grow at a rapid pace due to the influx of capital from stimulus legislation and Fed aid to small businesses. Gains may be more broad-based in this year’s spring period as additional restrictions are lifted across the globe and  more… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – April 2021

March retail sales signal dramatic economic turnaround. Consumer spending surged in March as the national economy continued to regain its footing and government stimulus reached more of the population. Core retail sales jumped 8.2 percent from February to March as stimulus checks hit residents’ bank accounts, with every major retail category advancing. Year over year, retail sales jumped 17.9 percent, though many retailers were forced to close during March 2020 as fears of COVID-19 spread across… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – April 2021

Accelerating reopening bolsters hiring. Job creation soared to a seven-month high of 916,000 in March as easing business restrictions and broadening vaccination availability alleviated barriers to travel, dining and shopping. Hiring last month was led by the leisure and hospitality sector with 280,000 personnel, followed by a combined 190,000 roles in public and private education, fields heavily impaired by forced closures. This robust recruiting helped lower the unemployment rate to 6.0 percent, less than half… Read More

Research Brief: Stimulus – March 2021

American Rescue Plan Act signed into law. The latest round of stimulus, at $1.9 trillion, is the second largest package ever passed by Congress. The spending bill contains relief for individuals, states, and schools, as well as new financial resources for vaccine distribution. Additional funding is allocated to restaurants, which could support struggling establishments after a winter spike in cases forced many such businesses to shutter or sharply curtail occupancy. Passed along party lines, the… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – March 2021

Consumer spending dips after January surge. Following the delivery of stimulus checks at the beginning of this year, retail sales jumped across all categories. The surplus spending resulted in a month-over-month decline in February. Core retail sales dipped 3.3 percent last month, though the level is up 6 percent from the same period in 2020. Additional stimulus is currently arriving in most residents’ accounts and should reverse the trajectory of consumer spending, particularly due to… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – March 2021

Easing restrictions aid employment at bars and restaurants.Employers added 379,000 workers to payrolls in February, the largest monthly gain since November. Hiring was most prolific in the leisure and hospitality sector with 355,000 new jobs. About 80 percent of those positions were at bars and restaurants, reflecting the benefit of relaxed restrictions on dining, particularly in Cali-fornia and New York, as well as ongoing stimulus measures. Other sectors of the economy that grew staff counts… Read More