Where is the U.S. economy heading? The answer to that question remains difficult and unclear, according to recent analysis by SEMA.
In February, gains were a feeble 20,000 new jobs, after averaging 226,000 new jobs per month over the last year; however, this may have been driven by adverse weather and random volatility. In addition, auto sales sank lower in February, and existing home sales hit their slowest pace since 2015 as tight inventories and rising interest rates weighed against sales.
On the other hand, despite the weak job gains last month, the underlying labor market remains strong, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent.
Likewise, wage growth continues to accelerate. At 3.4-percent year-over-year growth, wages are growing faster than they have in a decade. Job openings are also at a record high, which should provide support for both hiring and wage growth in the coming months, according to SEMA.
Overall, economic growth will moderate over the next two years. However, there continues to be significant debate about how quickly growth will slow or return in the long term.
For more information, download the March SEMA Industry Indicators Report, now available at sema.org/research.