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Research Brief: Employment – March 2022

Employment growth continues at rapid clip. Employers created 678,000 jobs in February, exceeding the 2021 monthly average of 560,000 positions. The strong opening salvo in hiring for 2022 has lowered the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent. Down from the pandemic peak of 14.7 percent in April 2020, the measure is just 30 basis points above the pre-health crisis benchmark, which in itself was also a historically tight rate. There are nevertheless 1.4 percent fewer people… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – February 2022

Consumers step forward in January. After an early holiday shopping season led to a quieter than normal December, retail spending bounced back last month. Several sectors recorded strong gains, though online retailers and furniture stores posted the largest month-over-month increases at 7.2 percent and 14.5 percent, respectively. Spending was influenced by the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19, with more people staying home. Despite this recent setback, the economy is much more open than it… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – February 2022

Employers tackling labor shortage in new year. The job market continued to recover in the opening month of 2022 as 467,000 jobs were created. While unemployment also rose, the labor force participation rate improved by 30 basis points to 62.2 percent, a post-recession high, as wage increases lured job seekers. Another factor indicative of the tight labor market is the declining number of people who want a full-time job but can only find part-time work.… Read More

Research Brief: Gross Domestic Product 1Q 2022

Economy exceeds expectations in fourth quarter. Annualized gross domestic product jumped 6.9 percent in the final period of last year, largely on the back of an increase in inventories. Personal expenditures contributed nearly 2.3 percent to last quarter’s gain, primarily due to holiday spending that was spread throughout the period. Much of the positive momentum could carry into 2022. While the influence of stimulus on capital markets is fading, the ongoing labor shortage is applying… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – January 2022

Consumers step back in December. Core retail sales dipped 2.5 percent last month as spending that usually occurs closer to the holidays was spread over a longer shopping season. Furthermore, the highly contagious omicron variant of COVID-19 elevated case counts, keeping more people at home. Retail sales, however, are up 16.5 percent from one year ago and consumers still have more than $5 trillion additional funds in savings and money market accounts. The largest decrease occurred… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – January 2022

In rare feat, unemployment drops below 4 percent. Employers added 199,000 personnel to payrolls in December, below the 2021 monthly average of 537,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate fell 30 basis points to 3.9 percent. Of the past 22 years, fewer than three have been spent with sub-4 percent unemployment. The tight labor market is also reflected in the surplus of job openings, last counted at 10.6 million, compared to 6.3 million people activity seeking work.… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – December 2021

Lackluster employment growth a sign of tight labor market. Employers added 210,000 personnel in November, below this year’s monthly average of 555,000 jobs. Part of the slowdown was due to modest onboarding in the leisure and hospitality sector. While accounting for roughly 40 percent of all gains made since April 2020, the sector was only responsible for about 10 percent of November’s job creation. Moving forward, a sustained period of elevated employment growth is unlikely. While… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – December 2021

Retail sales continue to float well-above pre-pandemic levels. Consumers acted on holiday shopping plans earlier than normal, resulting in a more moderate improvement in retail spending last month than is typical for this time of year. Core retail sales ticked up 0.2 percent in November, driving the year-over-year gain to an impressive 16.5 percent. Gains in core sales were most pronounced at food and beverage stores, sporting goods, building material retailers and restaurants and bars.… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – November 2021

Consumer spending healthy in October. Core retail sales, which excludes gasoline and motor vehicles, rose 1.4 percent last month. Year over year, the increase was 14.9 percent as shoppers are flush with capital from pandemic-relief bills and the economic recovery that has pushed unemployment below 5 percent. Sales at gasoline stations are the most robust, growing nearly 47 percent over the past 12 months. A sharp rise in energy demand due to the return to… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – November 2021

Job creation picks back up. After a slowdown in August and September, hiring improved in October as 531,000 personnel were added to staffs. A downshift in the number of coronavirus infections and the expiration of federal unemployment benefits likely contributed to the greater job creation. Employment growth was most prevalent in the leisure and hospitality sector, predominantly at bars and restaurants, as well as in professional and business services. Last month’s gains helped lower the… Read More