Recent data is starting to reveal some weakening in the US economy, specifically with slower retail sales (in areas like furniture sales—and durable goods more broadly—and restaurant sales), risks of higher jobless claims (specifically a decline in small business hiring plans), and a rise in bankruptcies. Despite the fact that the latest employment report was strong—with 223,000 jobs created in December and an unemployment rate of only 3.5%—the daily and weekly high-frequency indicators we track are beginning to show signs of weakness. This is a signal that the economy is losing some momentum after a strong 2022—likely the result of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates for much of last year.
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