3/9/21: EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy


Job growth surges in February, especially for leisure and hospitality

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 379,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.2 percent are more people re-entered the workforce. Most of the job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, with smaller gains in temporary help services, health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing. Employment declined in state and local government education, construction, and mining.

Consumers pull back sharply on revolving credit in January

In January, consumer credit decreased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.4 percent as households focused more on paying down debt. Revolving credit (such as credit cards) decreased at an annual rate of 12.2 percent, while nonrevolving credit (such as car loans and student loans) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent.


Asking and selling prices both climbed by double digits to new all-time highs

For the 4-week period ending 2/28, the median home-sale price increased 16% year over year to $323,600, an all-time high. Pending home sales were up 18% year over year, while new listings of homes for sale were down 17% from a year earlier. Active listings fell 40% from 2020 to a new all-time low.


90 percent of builders report difficulty obtaining appliances in a timely fashion

The February Wells Fargo/NAHB Housing Market Index (HMI) survey contained a special question asking the panel of single-family builders if they had experienced difficulty obtaining appliances in a timely fashion over the past 6 months.  In response, nearly 90 percent of the builders said yes, they had experienced such a difficulty—51 percent to a major extent, 38 percent to a minor extent.