This week we get prepared to head into the Memorial Day holiday, which typically marks the beginning of Summer. Last year, we were still in the throws of a pandemic. This year, we are simultaneously marking the final phase of the pandemic and Americans are looking to travel and get back to normal - at least domestically. According to Google Trends, Americans are booking travel at a much higher pace than one year ago. The record low level of positive COVID cases (2.6% 7-day positive tests) and the level of vaccinations (285 mil doses administered) are causing people to get out and hopefully spend the holiday with some normality.
The economic news was not all positive last week. Housing data and the Philly Fed Index disappointed. However, the NY Empire State Index surprised to the upside and Weekly Jobless Claims moved lower, remaining below 500,000. The flash reading on Manufacturing & Services, as measured by the Markit PMI indices, both moved higher month-over-month. This week we'll get a look at more Housing data, Weekly Claims (to see if we can stay below 500k), and the ever important consumer metrics - Income, Spending, and Confidence. Those metrics will be especially important heading into the holiday.
Meanwhile, a recent survey published by the Dallas Fed on Friday showed that there is a labor shortage that is real. Dallas Fed President Kaplan stated, "Businesses are telling us they got plenty of demand but they cannot find workers either skilled or unskilled." That's why at least 22 states have moved to drop the $300 weekly federal jobless benefit to encourage the unemployed to get back to work amid sky-high levels of job openings and business hiring woes.
Click below to access this week's Market Recap.