MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
September U.S. Composite Output Index shows softer decline in September
The headline Flash US PMI Composite Output Index registered 49.3 in September, up from 44.6 in August, to signal a softer and only marginal decline in private sector business activity. 50 is the line between growth and decline. The decrease was also the slowest in the current three-month sequence of contraction. Although manufacturers continued to register a slight fall in production, service providers signaled a much slower pace of decline in output.
Pending new home sales rise 3.2 percent in August but down 25.1 percent year-on-year
Pending new home sales rose 3.2 percent in August as mortgage rates dipped slightly, but were still down 25.1 percent year-on-year, and the average sales rate fell 26.1 percent. Compared with pre-COVID19 August 2019, sales are down 7.8 percent, with more notable slowdowns in the West and Mountain West regions.
NBER paper examines work from home (WFH) around the world
According to a global study by the National Bureau of Economic Research on the work from home (WFH) phenomenon, WFH averages 1.5 days per week in our sample, ranging widely across countries. Employers plan an average of 0.7 WFH days per week after the pandemic, but workers want 1.7 days. Employees value the option to WFH 2-3 days per week at 5 percent of pay, on average, with higher valuations for women, people with children and those with longer commutes. Most employees were favorably surprised by their WFH productivity during the pandemic. Looking across individuals, employer plans for WFH levels after the pandemic rise strongly with WFH productivity surprises during the pandemic. Looking across countries, planned WFH levels rise with the cumulative stringency of government-mandated lockdowns during the pandemic.