March 2024 Market Review

The basic structural and functional unit of all living organisms is the cell. It consists of many parts with each part serving a unique function. All the parts of the cell work together in a coordinated manner to maintain its structure and function. This echoes the U.S. economy, another intricate and complex system where each person performs specific tasks, which miraculously come together to drive its structure and function.

In the first quarter of 2024, the U.S. economy performed well, even if some parts behaved suboptimally. Regional surveys indicated that both manufacturing and service activity slowed, even as prices paid for raw materials or received for finished goods remained sticky. Consumer spending, particularly on retail items, softened slightly. Some households moved purchases to lower priced products and shifted spending away from discretionary goods. Spending on services varied with air travel spending robust and demand for other services such as restaurants softer due to elevated prices. The labor market moved into better balance. Businesses found it easier to fill positions with qualified applicants but struggled to attract workers for highly skilled positions. Wages grew, but at a slower pace. Housing, although impacted by elevated mortgage rates, remained healthy. Demand for new homes was strong with the supply of existing homes historically low. Homeowners who locked in low mortgage rates recently had no incentive to give up their homes and move. Commercial real estate activity is split between weak demand for office space and robust demand for data centers, manufacturing space, and infrastructure. Government spending contributed to growth, and exports performed well given a slowly improving global economy.

To receive the full market review, please contact us at [email protected] or subscribe to the monthly market review on our contact page.