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Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

U.S. Economy Adds Nearly One-quarter of a Million Jobs in February

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

A significant milestone has just been reached in the U.S. labor market. For the latest week ending February 27th, America’s initial jobless claims figure was less than 300,000 for the 52nd week in a row.

 

That’s a whole year of strong success in keeping the number of people newly unemployed quite low. (In the Great Recession of 2008-2009, the number topped off at 670,000.)

 

Falling below their 300,000 benchmark level, rosy initial jobless claims automatically imply encouraging news from the Employment Situation Report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

 

The BLS has just reported that in February, the total number of jobs in the U.S. rose by 242,000, where a gain of 200,000 or more is considered bullish.

 

The national unemployment rate stayed below 5.0% at 4.9%, the same as in January. A year ago, it had been 5.5%.

 

In another positive sign, the proportion of working-age people who actively sought employment in February moved a little higher, to 62.9%. This measure is called the ‘participation rate’ and it usually picks up when job prospects are good.

 

(On the flip side, when job prospects are abysmal, people stop looking for work and the result is a ‘discouraged worker’ effect.)

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Now it’s the Turn of U.S. Construction Material Costs

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

The cost of construction is largely determined by labor and material inputs.

The previous Economy at a Glance studied U.S. year-over-year average hourly wages in construction relative to all private sector jobs and other major industries.

Expanding the analysis somewhat, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in its monthly Employment Situation report, publishes four series on wage rates. Table B3 records average hourly and average weekly earnings for all employees in a range of industries. Table B8 has similar average hourly and weekly earnings information, but only for production and non-supervisory personnel.

For construction, the December 2015 year-over-year results were +2.9% (average hourly) and +4.2% (average weekly) from Table B3 and +2.7% (average hourly) and +3.3% (average weekly) from Table B8.

To summarize, the earnings results for construction ranged from +2.7% to +4.2% annually.

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October’s Jobs Report: Terrific for U.S.; Maybe Marvelous for Canada

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Article source: CMDGroup

There were worries after the issuance of labor market reports for August and September that indicated month-to-month job creation in the U.S. was slowing to +150,000 or less.

October’s data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) sends those clouds scurrying away.

The BLS says the latest net increase in jobs was +271,000, the greatest gain in any month so far this year. It lifts the average in 2015, with only November and December still remaining, to +206,000.

While 2014’s monthly average, January to October, was somewhat faster, at +236,000, a figure of +200,000 or higher warrants an enthusiastic response.

America’s jobless rate now sits at 5.0%, a marginal decline from September’s 5.1%, but more significantly down versus October 2014’s 5.7%.

Unless some other statistics on the U.S. economy (e.g., retail trade) come in far worse than expected, the Federal Reserve will now almost assuredly begin to take action on interest rates at the December meeting of its Open Market Committee (FOMC).

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Where Job Prospects are Brightest and Home Ownership is Cheapest

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Article source: CMDGroup

Tables 1 and 2 accompanying this Economy at a Glance compare labor markets with home prices in major U.S. and Canadian cities.

The reason for conducting this analysis can be summed up succinctly. It shows where job prospects are brightest while home ownership is cheapest.

The labor market ‘composite’ ranking has been based on an assessment of two criteria: year-over-year employment growth (from fastest to slowest) and unemployment rates (from lowest to highest).

Median or average home prices (and their year-over-year percentage changes) can be found at the web sites of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

It would be interesting to draw a line connecting every city to its doppelganger in the tables, but that would yield a confusing blizzard. Therefore, only ones in support of this EAAG’s headline are shown.

From the U.S. table, it’s clear that San Jose (2) and San Francisco (5) have strong labor markets that are accompanied by high home prices – i.e., on the right side of the table, they have corresponding rankings of (1) and (2) respectively.

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Mild Turbulence in U.S. and Canadian Labor Markets

Friday, October 16th, 2015

Article source: CMDGroup

It’s not rocket science. There are a few key benchmarks to be aware of concerning U.S. and Canadian labor markets.

For the U.S. economy, a net jobs gain of 170,000 in any given month will be viewed as acceptable by most economists, analysts and pundits.

If the figure climbs to 200,000 or higher, their mood will elevate into a range from happy to ecstatic.

Below 170,000, doubts creep in. That’s why the Department of Labor’s September number of +143,000, combined with a downward revision of August’s level to +136,000, was met with such alarm, at first.

Stock markets reacted negatively to the news. But then another train of thought took over.
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