Research Brief: Retail Sales – February 2021

Consumers return with new government cash. Spending in every major sector improved in January, lifting core retail sales 6.1 percent from December and 7.6 percent from one year ago. The arrival of $600 stimulus checks to millions of Americans early last month was the primary catalyst for the jump. Shoppers reversed three consecutive months of declines as most of the CARES Act stimulus had faded from the economy. The $300 increase in unemployment benefits that… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – February 2021

Beleaguered by infections, hiring gets off to slow start in 2021. Employers expanded payrolls by a modest 49,000 jobs last month following a loss of 227,000 positions in December. January’s mild employment gain underscores the ongoing weight of the health crisis on economic growth, with some sectors recovering and others struggling. Continuing vaccinations and fewer infections in early February, however, may point to improved hiring in the weeks ahead.

Research Brief: Employment – January 2021

Renewed shutdowns end hiring streak. After seven consecutive months of employment growth and the creation of over 12.4 mil-lion jobs, employers shed 140,000 positions in December. A rise in COVID-19 infections and the resulting lockdown precautions added new burdens on businesses already challenged by the delayed stimulus, leading to staff cuts in critically impacted sectors. While over 6 million vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. so far, last month’s hiring regression underlines the persistent… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – December 2020

Heightened health risks temper job growth. Employers added 245,000 personnel to payrolls in November, bringing the total number of jobs created since April to 12.3 million. Last month’s gain, while above the historical average, was nevertheless the smallest of the pandemic period. This moderation in hiring is tied largely to the cessation of fiscal stimulus as well as a major resurgence in coronavirus infections. The return of stricter lockdown requirements will weigh on overall employment growth… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – December 2020

Dwindling income and renewed closures push retail sales lower. The last of the supports from the CARES Act are winding down, including an extension of state-level unemployment benefits that will expire at the end of this year. Furthermore, several major cities have ordered businesses to temporarily shutter or reduce capacity. As a result, core retail sales declined 0.8 percent in November, marking the second consecutive monthly decline. Year over year, core retail sales have climbed 5.9… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – November 2020

Retail sales gains slow. Buoyed by Amazon Prime Day sales, retail sales inched up 0.3 percent in October. Core retail sales ticked up 0.2 percent last month as the pace of consumer spending gains returned to normal levels. Future gains in several sectors remain in doubt due to a flurry of new restrictions across the country as coronavirus case counts rise. New York, New Jersey and New Mexico have already announced tighter limitations due to… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – November 2020

October job additions consistent month over month. Employers hired 638,000 personnel last month, modestly below the 672,000 positions created in September. This more consistent level of job creation reflects the benefits of continued economic reopenings, although the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases presents fresh concerns. The rate of infection has roughly doubled since the October employment data was collected and the possibility of new lockdowns or warinesses to gather in person may… Read More

Research Brief: Employment – October 2020

Employment base expands at moderated pace. Employers added 661,000 personnel to payrolls in September, restoring 11.4 million of the 22.2 million positions lost in March and April. Despite these gains, last month’s total of under 1 million new roles continued the recent trend of slowing growth.

Research Brief: Gross Domestic Product – October 2020

U.S. records strongest quarterly gain on record. Reopening local economies pushed GDP growth to 33.1 percent in the summer quarter. Although the gain was on the high end of expectations, the overall economy remains 3.5 percent below the level at the end of last year. Following strict shutdowns in April and May, most states began to relax restrictions on nonessential businesses to some degree. At the same time, CARES Act stimulus started reaching households as… Read More

Research Brief: Retail Sales – October 2020

Consumer spending gains strong in September. After the pace of retail sales growth slowed in August following the end of CARES Act stimulus, shoppers accelerated activity by 1.9 percent in September. Year over year, core retail sales are up 5.9 percent. A combination of healthy payroll growth, back-to-school spending, and disaster-relief unemployment aid supported the increase. Retailers in every state have been permitted to open their doors, though the capacity restrictions vary across the country.… Read More