In a survey by the National Association of Business Economists, a strong majority of all businesses – fully 58% – reported that they raised the wages they paid to employees in the third quarter, as reported by AXIOS. Nearly the same number say they will raise wages yet again in the coming months. While the news has some positive elements, especially for workers (like the smiling employees above), it definitely has some economists worried.
In new data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential housing construction starts dropped 1.6% in September as compared to the previous month’s reading. This rate is the lowest level of housing starts in five months. Also concerning, building permits – a leading indicator of future construction – registered a sharp drop, down 7.7% below the previous month.
See more on housing construction starts[Read more…] about September Housing Construction Starts Drop to a 5-Month Low
In 2020, the year of COVID-19, there was much death and devastation in the U.S. and around the world. But one business segment soared during the pandemic as a result of local municipalities and states around the country putting their citizens into 24/7 lockdown at home – and that business was eCommerce. With in-person retail stores closed by local government orders, consumers had no option but to shop online to obtain the things they needed.
So what do experts expect will happen to the growth rate for eCommerce in 2021, now that all states have removed most or all of their restrictions and in-person retail stores are all open for business? You might be surprised…
See the latest forecast for eCommerce growth & Total Retail growth in 2021…[Read more…] about After Strong 2020, Researchers Project Further eCommerce Growth in 2021
Did you hear this statistic? Just this past April, a total of 4 million Americans quit their jobs, according to data recently released by the US Labor Department and reported on by the New York Times. Think about that for a moment. That April figure was the largest number of workers quitting their jobs in any one month…ever. Why? Ah…that’s a good question. I’m glad you asked…
See why workers are quitting their jobs in droves…[Read more…] about Leaders Heed This Warning: Employees Feel Empowered and Are Quitting
Not long ago, I weighed in on whether I believed that the U.S. economy would “bounce back” after the impact of COVID-19 began to taper off. A vigorous debate had erupted at the time, with multiple market observers offering their opinions as to whether there would be a v-shaped, w-shaped, u-shaped (or another character) recovery. We all wanted a v-shaped recovery, which would mean that the economy would essentially snap back instantly to where it was before the pandemic.
I did not expect a v-shaped recovery because it seemed to me that reopening the economy would be less coordinated than when the entire country basically shut down at the beginning of the pandemic. The latest government data on U.S. job growth shows this to be the case.
See the latest US jobs numbers in our sloppy recovery[Read more…] about US Jobs Post-COVID: A Longer Slog Back Than Expected
In yet another sign that the increasing momentum down the path to economic recovery will still be a very bumpy journey, residential housing construction starts (housing starts) in April showed declines in both the overall reading for all types of homes as well as for single-family homes. While both showed double digit declines in the initial report for April, they are both still well over the readings experienced in April 2020, at the height of the rollout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
See the latest data on housing starts in April[Read more…] about Housing Starts Stall in April
In new data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential construction – housing starts – appear to have taken off in March, rocketing to nearly 15-year highs. This is welcome news, as a serious shortage of available homes has been constraining housing sales recently. An increase in construction will help add inventory for sale. This shortage emerged after a protracted period of sales growth as urban dwellers left over-crowded cities during the time of COVID-19 for more spacious digs in the suburbs.
See more on the burst of housing starts in March[Read more…] about March Housing Starts Surge Almost 20% to 15-Year High
Here’s some good news! In a report by the National Association of Home Builders’ writer Fan-Yu Kuo, we learn that consumer confidence in March jumped to its highest level in a year. This is the second month of increase for consumer confidence, after a more modest increase in February. This mini-trend suggests that confidence is building in consumers about their future…after a rough year.
See more on this report of Consumer Confidence…[Read more…] about Consumer Confidence Rebounds to Highest Level in a Year
Is Housing a Bubble About to Burst?
After a spectacular run in 2020, it looks as though housing may be taking a pause to regroup. Strata-gee reported last week that residential construction starts had dropped by 10.3% in February. Now we learn that sales of newly built single-family homes have also dropped in February, this time by a scary 18.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 775,000 units. On top of that, existing home sales also dropped in February, coming in at 6.22 million units or 6.6% off of January’s rate.
What’s going on in housing?…[Read more…] about Sales of New and Existing Homes Drop in February
Economic KABOOM? While tech has been largely immune to it, many industry segments have been struggling to get through the current recession (think transportation and hospitality) that enveloped the country when the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the U.S. early last year. Literally, for a period of weeks or even months, all businesses that were not considered essential services were shut down, bringing economic activity to a standstill. Now, like many folks, you may be expecting to see economic growth return as the country begins to climb out of the epidemic-ravaged economy. Perhaps you’re even expecting an economic boom.
But a growing number of experts say you are wrong – we won’t just have moderate economic growth coming out of this latest recession. We won’t even have an economic boom. Rather, they say we are headed towards an economic KABOOM.