This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 02 April 2021

By: Taro Chellaram /Wells Fargo Economics & Financial Report/Apr 08, 2021

This Week's State Of The Economy - What Is Ahead? - 02 April 2021

U.S. Review - Activity Marches Higher 

  • Increased vaccinations and an improving public health position led to an easing of restrictions and pickup in activity across the country in March. Firms' need for labor has increased to meet demand and employers added a whopping 916K jobs last month as the recovery gained momentum (see Chart). Prior job gains were revised higher as well, but the March figure still denotes a significant pickup from the first two months of the year.
  • For the second consecutive month, the hard-hit leisure & hospitality industry posted a solid gain (+280K), as in-person activity continues to recover. Construction payrolls also jumped 110K last month after severe winter weather weighed on the industry in February. Overall, hiring was broad based with nearly every major industry reporting gains. The few exceptions were the autos & parts and information industries, which reported very modest declines in net hiring of -1K and -2K, respectively. The unemployment rate slid 0.2 percentage points to 6.0% in March.

U.S. Outlook - ISM Services • Monday

The ISM Services index was not immune to the slowdown seen across the economy in February. The index slipped 3.4 points to its slowest pace of expansion since May 2020. The new orders index fell even further, down 9.9 points to 51.9, though some of this decline may reect the fact that long-depleted inventories have at last been restocked.




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Despite a few misses on the headline numbers, economic data this week highlighted a theme of demand continuing to outstrip supply and ongoing slack in the labor market.

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Mobility is continuing to trickle lower in several major developed market economies. The U.K., France, Italy and Canada have all seen some further modest declines in retail/recreation visits.

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Retail sales kicked off the week with a bang, rising 17.7% month-over-month in May. The increase was larger than every single one of the 74 forecast submissions.

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In April, employers added 253K jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%. During the same month, the ISM services index edged up to 51.9, while the ISM manufacturing index improved to 47.1.

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Manufacturing held up relatively well in November, despite a larger-than-expected dip in the ISM manufacturing survey. The nonfarm manufacturing survey rose slightly.

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Retail sales declined 0.4% during February, while industrial production was flat (0.0%). Housing starts and permits jumped 9.8% and 13.8%, respectively.

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Economic data came in largely as expected this week and suggest continued economic recovery.

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Survey evidence flashed signs of contraction in the manufacturing sector and indicated weakness spreading to the services side of the economy, while employers added a less-than-expected 136K jobs in September.

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In the second installment of our series on economic risks in the foreseeable future, we analyze the potential for higher inflation in coming years stemming from excess demand.

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Visiting from Texas, it felt more like fall, which like the Texas cold-snap last February just goes to show that it’s a case of what you’re used to.


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