By Scott J. Brown, Ph.D., Raymond James
The December Employment Report (and other stuff) – Covid, covid, covid, politics, politics, politics. The new year has yet to show much of a break from 2020. The December Employment Report reflected an impact from the pandemic surge and further job losses in state and local government, but wasn’t bad otherwise. Democratic victories in Georgia’s run-off election mean a shift in Senate control (a 50-50 mix, but Vice President-Elect Harris will be the tie-breaker). There was an insurrection on Capitol Hill, as lawmakers were in the process of ratifying the November election results.
This Week – The Consumer Price Index is expected to reflect higher gasoline prices in December, but core inflation should remain relatively low (with limited pressure in rents). Unit motor vehicle sales improved in December, but retail sales are expected to show weakness in holiday sales (although November may have been even more out of line with the usual seasonal pattern). Industrial production should indicate a relatively strong gain in factory output. The Fed’s Beige Book is expected to reflect an impact from the pandemic surge. Fed officials will be speaking, including Chair Powell, but don’t expect anything market-moving.