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Our nation’s infrastructure is set to get a massive funding boost courtesy of the Federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act and bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In their new report entitled Hard-to-Fill Infrastructure Jobs: A Challenge to Building Our Future the National League of Cities explores the labor market’s readiness for the influx of infrastructure jobs that will be created by these new funding streams. An infrastructure job is one in which the work required is related to the design, construction or maintenance of infrastructure


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Consumer Edge Research

Consumer Edge Insight offers exclusive street-ready big-data products engineered for alpha generation by Data Science Teams & Portfolio Managers alike. CEI offers a number of alternative data products including CE Transact, our leading U.S. credit/debit card insight product (15M cards). CE Transact products provide aggregated revenue signal, deep fundamental cohort analysis and/or granular transaction-level data feeds with unparalleled metadata. Advantages: shortened latency (T+4), better panel representativeness (9M+ daily panel), and metadata integration such as demographics (at cardholder level). All data is cleaned with CEs Advanced Tagging System.

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.
June 9, 2021 / Economy

Grocery Deep Dive

From Placer
As one of the strongest performing retail sectors during the pandemic, the grocery sector showed exceptional offline strength by quickly adapting to a new pandemic-influenced reality. Yet, nearly halfway through 2021, it is increasingly clear the return to normalcy is in full swing, and with that, the need to adapt to a changing environment once again. To leverage last year’s surge and position themselves up for longer-term growth, grocers must understand which trends are here to stay and which are not.
June 9, 2021 / Economy

Gasoline prices are through the roof: no surprise for some traders

From Advan
Gas prices and futures (contracts to buy gasoline at some point in the future) have been up massively over the last few months, to the extent that some traders are betting on the return of $100 oil/barrel before the end of the year (Options Traders Bet on Return of $100 Oil ). It was reasonable to expect that with US reopening after the pandemic we would see an increased demand in travel, and gasoline demand as a result.
June 8, 2021 / Economy

May Employment Gains are Strong, But Still Disappoint

From RealPage
The U.S. employment recovery accelerated in May, but recent gains were still below economists’ expectations. Employers added almost 560,000 jobs in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). April’s disappointing gains were revised up to 278,000 jobs from the initially reported 266,000 jobs and March’s data was revised up by 15,000 jobs to 785,000 jobs gained as the factors hindering a stronger jobs recovery continue to be debated.
June 8, 2021 / Economy

Forestry and Paper: Credit Recovers as Lumber Prices Skyrocket

From Credit Benchmark
Lumber prices have tripled since June 2020, adding an average of $24,000 to the price of a new US home; and reports from Canada show that timber poaching is increasing as a result. Sawmills were idle during the pandemic lockdown, so the usual inventory build over winter did not happen. These technical constraints on supply are colliding head on with a spike in demand as housebuilding restarts, with the added pressure of the post-COVID desire for larger houses.
June 4, 2021 / Economy

Understanding Whether Weather Impacted TX Grocery

From Consumer Edge Research
Winter Storm Uri in February of this year ravaged much of the country, with the strongest impact in states with little snow experience such as Texas. But not all businesses were plowed under by the storm. Grocers actually saw a lift in sales in the days prior as snow-shy shoppers stocked up on essentials in anticipation of rough road conditions and grocery closures. In today’s Insight Flash we take advantage of our partnership with WeatherOptics and our newly launched WeatherOptics Signal dashboards to dig into which grocers were the most impacted
June 3, 2021 / Economy

Gateway Markets See Population Decline, While Sun Belt Swells

From RealPage
In a year when employees gained more freedom to work remotely, population shifts gravitated away from the expensive gateway areas, toward more affordable parts of the country. As a result, some of the nation’s big gateway markets saw dramatic population declines in 2020, while many Sun Belt markets were magnets for in-migration. Weakening performance among the nation’s gateway apartment markets has been a common theme in the past year
June 2, 2021 / Economy

PlaceIQ & PwC Recap: Rethinking Demand Models for the Pandemic Era

From PlaceIQ
The pandemic raised new questions, new challenges, brought new opportunities, and accelerated the need for data-driven decisions across many industries. We recently teamed up with our partners at PwC to share our approach for enhancing existing demand models using multiple datasets and to show an example of how they’re built in the PwC ecosystem. We discussed from our respective points of view how demand changed, and how it can affect your planning.
May 28, 2021 / Economy

2021 Inflation in Packaged Foods

From Viscacha Data
Over the last several weeks, inflation concerns have been a hot topic, as the combination of increased demand as the country reopens, supply chain constraints and high commodity prices has pushed up prices across categories. Although categories like used cars and gas saw the most dramatic increases last month, CPG companies have felt the impact as well.
May 27, 2021 / Economy

Which Jobs Have The Highest (And Lowest) Share Of Foreigners?

From RevelioLabs
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 18% of the United States labor force consists of foreign-born employees. This rate has seen moderate increases over the past several years, although 2020 has proved especially devastating for foreigners working in the United States. It’s estimated that 38.4% of the drop in employment over the past year has been concentrated around foreign born persons.
May 27, 2021 / Economy

Motor Vehicles and Equipment Lead April Short Line Index Gains

From Railinc
The number of carloads moved on short line and regional railroads in April 2021 was up compared to April 2020. Carloads originated increased 18.9 percent, from 305,350 in April 2020 to 363,021 in April 2021. Virtually all carload groups were up. Motor Vehicles and Equipment led gains with a 212.0 percent increase. Nonmetallic Minerals was up 82.9 percent and Waste and Scrap Materials and Petroleum Products increased 54.9 and 50.8 percent respectively.
May 25, 2021 / Economy

Dollar Store Breakdown

From Placer
In the last year, the dollar store sector has clearly been among the better positioned segments within all of retail. And there is real reason to believe that this is just the beginning. Brands like Dollar General and Big Lots are poised for big things in the next year, and new concepts like Dollar General’s Popshelf could make the coming years even more exciting for an increasingly sophisticated sector.
May 25, 2021 / Economy

Did the Colonial Pipeline Hack Take the Gas Out of Consumer Spending?

From Consumer Edge Research
When Colonial Pipeline was hit with a ransomware attack that forced it to shut down operations, millions of consumers on the East Coast were faced with long lines at gas stations and skyrocketing fuel prices. Although the press was awash in pictures of people hoarding gas in plastic shopping bags, how much impact did the shutdown really have?
May 24, 2021 / Economy

The Crypto Craze

From LinkUp
Crypto has been dominating headlines lately, from Dogecoin to Bitcoin the digital asset has become THE hot topic for news and media outlets. It’s not just media outlets that have latched on to the crypto craze, large institutions are also starting to explore the possibilities of this technology. Naturally we were curious as well, so in this post we use Linkup’s Raw dataset to take a look at who has job listings in this area.
May 21, 2021 / Real Estate, Economy

Did Mortgage Underwriting or Loan Applicants Change In 2020?

From CoreLogic
Three important factors in mortgage underwriting are debt-to-income (DTI) ratios, loan-to-value (LTV) ratios and credit scores. Over the course of the pandemic, we have seen a decrease in the average DTI and LTV as well as an increase in the average credit score of loan applicants. There are two possible reasons for this change: either the risk attributes of applicants have changed, or lenders’ credit underwriting standards have changed due to an uncertain economic outlook.