4/6/21: EconUpdate by P. Duffy

EconUpdate by P. Duffy

Job growth jumps sharply in March, unemployment rate ticks down to 6.0 percent

What does this mean?  Continued vaccinations have led to fewer restrictions, allowing more companies to reopen.

Job growth blew past consensus expectations in March, adding 916,000 new jobs as the unemployment rate fell 20 basis points to 6.0 percent.  Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, public and private education, and construction. The number of unemployed persons, at 9.7 million, continued to trend down in March but is 4.0 million higher than in February 2020.


Employment Trends Index rises 2.43 percent in March, up 7.7 percent year-on-year

What does this mean?  A combination of pent-up savings and more stimulus will boost consumer spending this year.

The Conference Board Employment Trends Index significantly increased in March, after a small decrease in February. The index now stands at 102.44, up from 100.01 (a downward revision) in February. The index is currently up 7.7 percent from a year ago.


59 percent of homes under contract within two weeks as competition intensifies

What does this mean? Increased demand for homes continues to put pressure on home prices as listings plummet.

For the 4-week period ending March 28, pending home sales were up 38 percent from the same period in 2020, and up 28 percent from the same period 2019, which was a more typical year for the housing market. The median home-sale price increased 17 percent year over year to $335,613, an all-time high. 41 percent of homes sold for more than their list price, an all-time high and 16 percentage points higher than the same period a year earlier. Active listings fell 42 percent from the same period in 2020 to a new all-time low.


Service sector index rises sharply in March to all-time high

What does this mean?  Consumer-facing businesses bounced back sharply in March, leading to increased confidence among purchasing managers.

The Services PMI® registered an all-time high of 63.7 percent, 8.4 percentage points higher than the February reading of 55.3 percent, and the highest level since October 2018.  While the lifting of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic-related restrictions has released pent-up demand, production-capacity constraints, material shortages, weather and challenges in logistics and human resources continue to cause supply chain disruptions.