U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (04/14/21)
National economic activity accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April. Consumer spending strengthened. The picture in nonfinancial services generally improved, partly supported by strengthening demand for transportation, professional and business, and leisure and hospitality services. Despite widespread supply chain disruptions, manufacturing activity expanded further with half the Federal Reserve Districts citing robust growth. Outlooks were more optimistic than in the previous report, boosted in part by an acceleration in Covid-19 vaccinations.
Employment growth picked up over the reporting period, with most districts noting modest to moderate increases in headcounts. The pace of job growth varied by industry but was generally strongest in manufacturing, construction, and leisure and hospitality. Hiring remained a widespread challenge, particularly for low-wage or hourly workers, restraining job growth in some cases. Commercial and delivery drivers were specifically cited as being in short supply, as were specialty and skilled tradespeople. Employment expectations generally were bullish. Wage growth accelerated slightly overall, with more significant wage pressures in industries like manufacturing and construction where finding and retaining workers was particularly difficult. Some contacts mentioned raising starting pay and offering signing bonuses to attract and retain employees.
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