April 6, 2012

The latest employment situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the national unemployment rate slipped to 8.2% for March, compared with 8.3% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March.

According to the bureau, retail trade employment fell by 34,000 in March. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-32,000) and small losses in other retail industries more than offset gains in health and personal care stores (+6,000).

December 22, 2011

An index of consumer sentiment rose for the fourth month in a row, gaining 5.8 points and reaching its highest level since last June. The Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index hit 69.9 points in December, and researchers pointed to falling gasoline prices, mildly better employment prospects, an uptick in the stock market and real income growth. 

June 23, 2011

Consumer research from Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD Group shows more concern than confidence in the economy.

The June 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, is down slightly to an index reading of 39.5. The figure indicates consumers are slightly more concerned about the economy than they were last month, when the index stood at 40.0, or in the same month last year, when the index was also at 40.0.

March 25, 2011

The March 2011 NPD U.S. Economic Perception Indicator, a measure of consumer confidence, showed a 2.7 point decline from the previous month to a new reading of 39.2. The March figure is also down from 40.1 in March 2010.

Consumers' economic perception is certainly not helped by the near-record low housing construction and home sales reports that were released in the last two weeks.

February 11, 2011

During the Handy Hardware Wholesale Spring Market in Houston, president Tina Kirbie pointed to a handful of economic indicators that bode well for hardware stores in 2011.

She started her roll call of positive macroeconomic metrics with the index of leading economic indicators, which rose 1% in December from November. The index increased 3.3% in the second half of 2010, compared with a first-half gain of 2.4%.

February 4, 2011

The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. 

Employment rose in manufacturing and in retail trade but was down in construction and in transportation and warehousing. Employment in most other major industries changed little over the month, according to Friday's report.


January 7, 2011


The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 9.4% in December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The government also reported non-farm payroll employment increased by 103,000. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality and in health care, but was little changed in other major industries, according to the Friday morning release. The retail trade showed a gain of 12,000 jobs in December, and it has risen by 495,000 since a recent low in September 2009.


August 20, 2008

Two out of three of the indicator’s component indexes posted gains in August, including a...