Topic: Business Conditions

Private Payrolls Post Another Strong Gain, Adding 654,000 Jobs in February

– March 4, 2022

“Payrolls growth was strong again in February. While these results support a positive outlook for growth, geopolitical turmoil surrounding the Russian invasion of Ukraine has spurred a new wave of risks and potential disruptions to the global economy.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Services-Sector Growth Slowed by Labor, Materials, and Logistical Constraints

– March 3, 2022

“Services-sector expansion likely slowed in February as shortages of labor and materials continue. Fewer new cases of Covid may provide some relief but turmoil as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine has the potential to disrupt the global economy and businesses.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Weekly Initial Claims for Unemployment Benefits Fall to the Lowest Level of the Year

– March 3, 2022

“Weekly initial claims ticked down for a second week. Overall, claims remain at a very low level and the labor market remains very tight. However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine dramatically increases uncertainty.” ~ Robert Hughes

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February Unit Auto Sales Slowed as Assemblies, Inventories, and Prices Stabilize in January

– March 2, 2022

“Light-vehicle sales slowed in February as component shortages continue to restrain production. Assemblies, inventory, and prices continued to show signs of stabilization through January, albeit at extreme levels.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Manufacturing-Sector Survey Showed Strong Results in February

– March 1, 2022

“Manufacturing-sector demand remained strong in February. Production increased despite ongoing labor and logistical issues but constraints on faster production growth continue. Recent events in Ukraine may be yet another source of disruption and further delay the return to normalcy.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Consumer Confidence Weakened Slightly in February

– February 22, 2022

“Consumer expectations weakened again in February, pulling down overall consumer confidence. Continued expansion remains the likely course, but weaker consumer attitudes could become a headwind.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Housing Permits Remained Hot in January but Mortgage Rates Also Continued to Rise

– February 17, 2022

“Housing permits were solid again in January. However, rising home prices and higher mortgage rates may be headwinds for demand while elevated commodity costs remain a challenge for homebuilder profits.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Weekly Initial Claims for Unemployment Benefits Rise Slightly

– February 17, 2022

“Weekly initial claims for unemployment benefits ticked up and are slightly above the pre-pandemic level. Overall, claims remain at a very low level by historical comparison. Most data suggest the labor market remains very tight.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Harsh Weather Drives a Surge in Utility Output While Manufacturing Posts a Modest Gain

– February 16, 2022

“Industrial output jumped in January, led by a weather-related surge in utility output. Modest gains across many other areas puts about 95 percent of industrial producers at or above pre-pandemic levels. While declining Omicron cases should reduce constraints on output, overall labor shortages remain a significant obstacle.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Retail Spending Rebounded in January

– February 16, 2022

“Retail sales rebounded in January and remain at a high level. However, some of the strong gains are likely due to price increases, making real gains less robust.” ~ Robert Hughes

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Consumer Sentiment Fell Sharply in Early February

– February 11, 2022

“Consumer sentiment fell again in early February and is now below the lows seen in four of the last six recessions. Consumers are concerned about rising prices, government policies, and long-term economic prospects.” ~ Robert Hughes

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AIER Leading Indicators Index Shows Improvement, Suggests Continued Expansion

– February 10, 2022

“AIER’s Leading Indicators Index rose to 63 in January with all three business cycle indicators above neutral for the first time since December 2019. The results suggest continued economic expansion with the potential for a broadening of growth in the economy. However, risks remain elevated as upward price pressures continue and Fed policymakers likely start a tightening cycle in March, raising the risk of a policy mistake.” ~ Robert Hughes

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