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Recently, Consumer Discretionary (CD) has been an interesting sector to analyze. Due to its non-essential nature, COVID’s impact on the sector cannot be denied. However, as it looks like we are turning a corner on the pandemic, CD seems to be undergoing shifts that make it worth taking a closer look. We can see from the S&P 500 index that Consumer Discretionary took a significant hit right after the onset of COVID, as one might expect. But since then CD has had a strong recovery.


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September 16, 2021 / Economy

Jobs Recap: August 2021

From LinkUp
It appears we’re closing the summer on a hot streak as overall job listings continued to rise in August for the 6th month in a row. While the trajectory is positive, the pace of growth continues to slow with August non-farm payroll numbers missing estimates and another increase in the number of jobs deleted in our database. This could be a sign of a broader slow-down, but we would anticipate hiring will accelerate ahead of the holiday season.
September 1, 2021 / Economy

Labor Demand in Goods Producing Industries Outpacing Labor Demand in Service Industries

From LinkUp
We’ll post updated charts later this week when we get our data for August, but we wanted to post the two charts below that show total (below) and new job openings (bottom) in goods and services industries between January 2020 and July 2021. As the first chart below for total job openings shows, between May and November last year, labor demand in services industries rose faster immediately following the decimation of Q2 ’21 than goods-producing industries.
August 25, 2021 / Economy

Top Job Gain Markets Add Even More Jobs

From RealPage
Several of the top 10 markets for job gains in the U.S. added more jobs in the year-ending July than they did in June, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This uptick in job gains in half of the top 10 markets slowed the downward trend of combined gains that we have seen over the past several months. Still, we expect combined annual job gains to return closer to historical norms (between 500,000 and 600,000 jobs) among the top 10 markets by late 2021 or early 2022.
August 17, 2021 / Economy

Jobs Recap: July 2021

From LinkUp
Temperatures weren’t the only thing rising in July, as sky high summer heat was accompanied by increasing job listings, with the month up 4.6%. This follows the slowdown observed in June where listings dipped by almost 1%. Reflecting on job demand changes overall, it is noteworthy that over the last year, only two months have seen a decline in listings, and growth continues.
August 17, 2021 / Economy

Child Tax Credit Spurs Early Back-to-School Spending

From Earnest Research
For some school districts*, the back-to-school shopping season has arrived. Following a year of mostly remote learning and a resulting stunted 2020 school shopping period, we looked at our data to see if 2021 would be any different. Good news for retailers: a return to in-person classes and some extra cash from the first Child Tax Credit payment shows the retail tide may be turning.
August 9, 2021 / Economy

Crediting the Child Tax Credit

From Consumer Edge Research
Last month, the US government made one of what will become several monthly payments to households with children, meant to spur spending and reduce economic hardship. In today’s Insight Flash, we take advantage of our unique demographic capability to isolate households with children, and to cross-reference that by income, to evaluate the impact of this payment. Households with children began ramping spending in advance of the payment, moving from lower spend growth than shoppers without children the week of June 6 to slightly higher growth the weeks ending June 13 – July 11.
August 4, 2021 / Economy

Global Credit Recovery Gathers Pace

From Credit Benchmark
According to The Economist, just 10% of the world’s population is fully vaccinated against Covid. This average conceals a huge global divide – for low-income countries, the average is just 1%; it is over 30% for the most advanced economies. Even in the developed nations, the formula for vaccine rollout success is a complex blend of politics, economics, public health preparedness and national attitude. But it is clear that the economic bounceback will be led by the largest and most developed economies.
August 2, 2021 / Economy

Will COVID’s Home Spending Boom Last?

From Earnest Research
The phrase “no place like home” took on new meaning for many at the height of the pandemic, with much of the country pivoting to a new normal of quarantine and remote work. Some of the biggest beneficiaries of this development were the Home Improvement and Home Furnishing sectors as consumers increasingly took on DIY home projects and invested in home offices—to the tune of $420 billion last year.
July 30, 2021 / Economy

Job Market Maintains Goldilocks Perfection

From LinkUp
In our Non-farm Payroll forecast earlier this month, we highlighted the yawning chasm of the bid-ask spread between employers and employees these days and touched on some of the structural mechanics of the job market in the context of how efficient or inefficient the job market is (typically), how COVID has obliterated any normalcy that might have previously existed in the job market, and what we expect to see in the coming months.
July 30, 2021 / Economy

Retail Slips in Brighton as Residents Receive 5,000+ ‘pings’

From Huq
The number of people visiting Brighton’s shops dropped by 6% over the last month, as Huq’s geo-data reveals how the economy of the most ‘pinged’ city in the South East is being impacted by people being told to self-isolate. In our deep-dive series exploring the link between alerts and the impact on economic activity, today’s focus is on the South East where more than 87,309 NHS self-isolate alerts were sent and the seven days leading up to 14 July.
July 27, 2021 / Economy

The ‘Pingdemic’ Weighs on Mobility and Retail Visits in July

From Huq
The UK has experienced a fresh wave of Covid-19 infections in recent weeks. Figures from the JHU show that cases peaked on July 20th and have since fallen. The NHS’ Covid-19 app sent a record 607,486 contact tracing alerts in the week ending July 14th. The IHS Markit/CIPS composite PMI fell 4.5% from June to July. Some suggest that high alert-levels are having an adverse effect on the economy as workers and shoppers stay home. The moniker for this new feature of the crisis is the ‘Pingdemic’.
July 21, 2021 / Economy

Job Gains Continue to Normalize After Recovery Rebound

From RealPage
As the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and recession continues, annual gains in employment that had spiked in May are beginning to temper toward more normal levels. The U.S. gained 6.3 million jobs in the year-ending June, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This pace is down from the 8.6 million jobs gained in the year-ending May, and below the 10 million jobs added in April.
July 19, 2021 / Economy

Jobs Recap: June 2021

From LinkUp
Looking back at the month of June, we see growth has slowed and the labor market appears to be leveling off. The month brought the first signs that the job market is cooling down. It’s not quite a summer slump, but maybe, just maybe, this slowdown signifies things could be (dare we say it?!?) returning to “normal.” While more than half of industries saw decline, several did see strong job growth last month. Topping the list are Real Estate and Rental and Leasing (+7.3%), Finance and Insurance (+6.8%), Information (+5.4%), and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (+6.8%).
July 9, 2021 / Economy

Top 10 Most Downloaded P2P Payment Apps in the United States in H1 2021

From Apptopia
Cash App was the most downloaded P2P payment app in the United States in the first half of 2021. Globally, it was the fifth most downloaded. See who took the #1 spot on the worldwide list here: Top 10 Most Downloaded P2P Payment Apps in the World in H1 2021. As a market, the top 10 P2P payment apps in the US increased downloads approximately 38.7% YoY to more than 90M. This total represents a 66.8% increase from H1 2019— a significant two-year gain. As mentioned in our global analysis, the United States is the leader in downloads for the P2P payment app market.
July 1, 2021 / Economy

Does Dollar General Cause Food Deserts?

From Revelio Labs
Dollar General has been accused of causing food deserts in low-income areas. While there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence on this, there has been little empirical evidence. By tracking Dollar General employees and comparing them to traditional grocery store employees, we are able to better understand the relationship between Dollar General and food deserts. Although both Dollar General and traditional grocery stores have been growing steadily
June 30, 2021 / Economy

Wage inflation: Overhyped or rising concern?

From LinkUp
Wage inflation has been a hot topic of late, with many employers saying that they are having to raise compensation to attract workers. This is an area that touches every corner of the economy as labor is a key input in almost every industry. Even the Federal Reserve is starting to take note, last week indicating via its “dot plot” a median estimate of two rate hikes before the end of 2023. Since a dovish Fed has been a central thesis of bullish equity markets, investors will continue to pay close attention to wages.
June 24, 2021 / Economy

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Inflation Yet

From Revelio Labs
Fears of inflation are heating up. But wages are telling a different story. This week we explore salaries to see what industries and jobs are most affected. In a previously published newsletter titled, Labor Markets are Not as Healthy as They Look, we documented an 8.8% decrease in salaries from March to August 2020. In the figure below, we continue to observe a similar trend by looking at the average salary for the past 3 years.
June 23, 2021 / Economy

Rail Carload Volume Improves by Nearly One-Third in May

From Railinc
The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in May 2021 was up compared to May 2020. Carloads originated increased 29.0 percent, from 286,673 in May 2020 to 369,862 in May 2021. Virtually all carload groups were up. Motor Vehicles and Equipment led gains again with a 384.3 percent increase. Petroleum Products was up 102.8 percent and Waste and Scrap Materials and Nonmetallic Minerals increased 67.6 and 65.7 percent respectively. Pulp, Paper and Allied Products was the only decline, down 0.3 percent in May.
June 23, 2021 / Economy

What is Really Happening with Lumber Pricing?

From CoreLogic
The rapid increase of lumber prices has been all over the news throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and everyone seems to have their own explanation of why this trend has been occurring. From increased demand, to the lack of timber, to the Mountain Pine Beetle destroying trees, or to the impacts of clearcutting, each of these explanations are true to varying degrees. But they’re also not the complete picture. When it comes to pricing, it’s important to distinguish between _demand for lumber_ and the _supply chain for lumber products_.
June 21, 2021 / Economy

Is the Consumer Discretionary Sector sailing toward recovery?

From LinkUp
Recently, Consumer Discretionary (CD) has been an interesting sector to analyze. Due to its non-essential nature, COVID’s impact on the sector cannot be denied. However, as it looks like we are turning a corner on the pandemic, CD seems to be undergoing shifts that make it worth taking a closer look. We can see from the S&P 500 index that Consumer Discretionary took a significant hit right after the onset of COVID, as one might expect. But since then CD has had a strong recovery.