American consumers put their stimulus checks to work last month. Retail and food service sales rose 5.3% in January, after declining 1.0% in December (Figure 1). Compared to one year ago, sales are 7.4% higher. The strong data resulted from the stimulus checks and declining virus cases. Because of restrictions and risk, the biggest winners were online retailers. Home improvement stores also experienced strong demand as consumers continue to spend extra time at home.Read More
U.S. inflation rose 0.3% last month and is now up 1.4% for the year (Figure 1). Investor concern about inflation has increased in recent months against the backdrop of large stimulus packages and hopes of an economic recovery. Pushing back against that concern is a slowly recovering labor market. Initial jobless claims fell 19,000 from the previous week but remained stubbornly close to 800,000. Continuing claims were more than 4.5 million.Read More
The U.S. employment situation remains lackluster. Only 49,000 new jobs were created in January. Unemployment dropped but only because labor force participation fell from 63.4% to 61.4% (Figure 1). As COVID-19 cases have dropped this year, some improvement is expected in coming months. Vaccine distribution remains the most important path toward an improved economy.Read More
While you’re packing up the last of 2020, you’ll want to take advantage of the tax opportunities even a year like this one has to offer. Instead of dropping off a shoebox of receipts and hoping for a return, be intentional about maximizing returns and protecting income.
The CARES Act and other government measures have made this a unique tax year, and our 2021 Tax Planning Checklist can help you plan with confidence. Remember, tax planning, not simply tax preparation, is the way to optimize your financial picture.
Facing everything from empty sales floors to painful staff shortages, entrepreneurs have been uniquely hurt by 2020 and the extent of the damage isn’t fully known yet. A Yelp economic impact report released in September found that almost 100,000 small businesses in the country had closed their doors permanently while many others struggle under the current conditions.Read More
The prices of a small set of heavily shorted stocks spiked last week as multiple factors conspired to create an intense demand for shares of some companies. The extreme move in prices has created a large gap between the current price and the price targets of even the most optimistic investors.Read More
Jamie Hopkins, Director of Retirement Research at Carson, offers insight as our country navigates changes after the inauguration. Click Here to Watch the WebinarRead More
Have you found yourself officing in a room with a bunk bed? Do you realize you’re going to the store in your pajamas and never leaving your car? Does going to the movies mean going to the living room to turn on the TV? Quarantine changed the world almost overnight, and the adjustment is so pervasive in our everyday lives we hardly notice the details going by.Read More