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Retail Sales, Employment, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

This short video shows the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on retail sales and employment levels.

FRED Series Seen in the Video

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CPIAUCSL
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RSDBS
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/RSFSDP
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CES4300000001
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USEHS
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USFIRE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USINFO
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USLAH
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USPBS
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USSERV
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USTRADE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/USWTRADE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/UNRATE
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFF
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTAR
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARL
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/DFEDTARU
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/IOER
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FEDDT
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/TREAST
https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/WSHOMCB

Transcript

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major economic impact. The Federal Reserve System responded to it using conventional and unconventional monetary policy tools.

Let’s FRED that.

Social distancing has changed spending habits. For example, in this graph you can see a fairly steady growth of retail sales at restaurants and bars (the black line) catching up to retail sales at food and beverage stores (the red line).

Starting in March, those trends changed: consumer demand switched—almost dollar for dollar.

Employers shed an unprecedented number of jobs.

Only the American Telephone & Telegraph Co. union workers’ strike of August 1983 (the blue bars at the left of the graph) is comparable in magnitude.

Because there are fewer persons employed, the unemployment rate tripled between February and April.

The Federal Reserve responded by lowering interest rates to make borrowing by businesses and households cheaper.

The Federal Reserve also increased its holdings of long-term securities to promote the stability of the financial system itself.

To build the graphs and learn more about each topic, visit fred.stlouisfed.org.

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Audience:   High School, College, Consumers
Language:   English
Subjects:   AP Economics, Economics
Resource Types:   Video
Concepts:   Spending, Demand, Employment, Unemployment, Monetary Policy, Economy