Nearly Half of U.S. Labor Force Is Working From Home – Employment Trends

As workers vacated entire office buildings and left conference rooms unoccupied, the pandemic work culture began to evolve. Hundreds of thousands of workers migrated home to establish a new work environment worthy of shorts and sweats, yet no mask. Most have embraced the home work culture as a necessity but quite possibly as a new norm as well. Income and …

New Free Trade Agreement Doesn’t Include U.S. – Global Trade

For months, even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, several countries were busy assembling trade agreements in order to facilitate and promote free trade. Asian countries were among the bulk of the agreements in the making, including both developed and emerging economies. This November, one of the long awaited free trade agreements was signed, the Regional Comprehensive …

Homeowner Equity Reaches New Highs – Housing Market Update

Homeowner equity as a percentage of home values reached an all time high in the 2nd quarter of 2020, surpassing the most recent previous highs in 2001. Federal Reserve data revealed that homeowners had achieved over 65.5% equity in their homes, a level not reached since the early 2000’s. Low interest rates have enabled mortgage holders to pay down their …

True Unemployment – Labor Market Overview

A closely followed economic statistic by economists and market analysts is the unemployment rate. In fact, the Department of Labor has numerous levels of unemployment rates that it compiles and reports. Of the various rates, the U-3 is known as the traditional or official rate, which came in at 6.9% for its most recent release. The U-3 rate is considered …

Online Sales Have Increased During Pandemic – Consumer Behavior

Ever since the internet brought about the ability to shop from home, online sales have been steadily increasing for the past two decades. Thus far this year, online sales have exceeded 14% of total retail sales, more than the 8.6% average over the preceding five years. The growth with online sales this year has been primarily driven by the pandemic, …

Medicare Coverage Heading Into 2021 – Retirement Planning

With open enrollment upon us, millions of Americans will be deciding on which, if any, changes to make to their Medicare coverage. The Open Enrollment Period for 2021 coverage is from November 1, 2020 to December 15, 2020. Coverage for any changes or new plans begins January 1, 2021. Since Medicare doesn’t cover all medical expenses, the decision to buy …

Macro Overview – December 2020

Equity markets responded positively to news that the availability of vaccinations was imminently close. Major equity indices reached new highs in November as elements of uncertainty eased with promising vaccine trials and finalized election results. With the election behind us, attention now turns back to the pandemic and its ongoing effects on the U.S. and international economies. A lingering stimulus …

Election Results May Affect Rates – Fixed Income Update

Interest rates gravitated slightly higher in October, driven by the anticipation of eventual inflation and growing federal debt levels. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose from 0.69% in September to 0.88% at the end of October. The rise in yields was the largest increase since June. Election results are expected to determine the direction of interest rates over …

Uncertainty From Presidential Race Drove Volatility In October

U.S. equities zigzagged throughout October as uncertainty surrounding the election and a second stimulus package instilled volatility. Global developed market equities declined in October as earnings became more of a concern among companies throughout various industries. In the U.S., the S&P 500 Index dropped the most ever for the week leading up to a presidential election. Emerging market equities faired …