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Posts Tagged ‘Labor’

Monitoring the Cost of 3 of Life’s Essentials: Gasoline, Rent and Coffee

Tuesday, May 29th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Aficionados of horror movies know there are certain things – e.g., the proximity of Frankenstein’s monster – that will cause ‘the villagers’ to pick up their pitchforks and charge into the woods for a confrontation. It’s widely understood that the ‘villagers’ are you and me.

Such works may be escapist fiction, but while basic safety and security will always be a primary concern in real life, there are other terrors in non-fiction that are equally likely to incite our concern and ire and they’re mainly economic – e.g., a scarcity of jobs or sky-high prices.

With respect to inflation and rapidly increasing price levels, this article looks at three products that for many people are essentials – rent, gasoline and coffee.

Charts 1 through 6 show the year-over-year percentage changes of the rent, gasoline and coffee sub-indices within the broader Consumer Price Index (CPI) data produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Statistics Canada.

In the U.S., media headlines immediately prior to Memorial Day Weekend carried the message that travelers taking to the roads were about to discover that a fill-up at the gas pump would cost them nearly one-third more than a year ago.

The stronger U.S. economy has been contributing to more demand for gasoline. According to the website, www.gasbuddy.com/charts, the average price of gasoline in America is now $3.00 USD per gallon. Last year at the same time, it was $2.40. The increase has been +25%.

Rent Prices USA
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Austin, San Jose and Orlando Lead U.S. Large City Labor Markets

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Tables 1 and 2 accompanying this article set out the latest (March 2018) year-over-year jobs growth and unemployment rate rankings for the 51 largest (by population) U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). The raw data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The objective for any city is that its jobs growth be faster rather than slower and that its unemployment rate be lower rather than higher. The total U.S. pace of employment gain has most recently been +1.5% year over year, while the national jobless rate has dropped to 3.9%.

The three U.S. cities with the best combined results from Tables 1 and 2 are: Austin, TX; San Jose, CA; and Orlando, FL. In March of this year, Austin was first for jobs growth (+3.6%) and tied for sixth with respect to unemployment rate (3.1%). Orlando was second for jobs growth (+3.5%) and tied for ninth with respect to unemployment rate (3.3%). San Jose was ninth for jobs growth (+2.7%), but tied for first with respect to unemployment rate (2.7%).
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11 Mid-April Economic Nuggets

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

Despite U.S. construction continuing to record a total activity level below potential, the sector should be receiving more bouquets for the bigger role it is playing in the economy overall.

11 Mid-April Economic Nuggets Graphic

Historical data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records that in the year 2000, the number of manufacturing jobs in America’s economy was 17.3 million. The same source records that the number of construction jobs at the turn of the century was 6.8 million.

In 2017 versus 2000, the number of manufacturing jobs in the U.S. was down by 28% to 12.4 million, while the number of construction jobs was ahead by 3%, to 7.0 million.

The clearest way to illustrate the rising importance of construction relative to manufacturing, at least from an employment standpoint, is to express their relationship in terms of a ratio. In 2000, there were four jobs in construction for every ten jobs in manufacturing. Now, there almost six on-site jobs for every ten production-line positions.

More dramatic still has been the shift in favor of construction work in Canada. In 2000, there were 2.2 million Canadian manufacturing jobs compared with 800,000 in construction. By 2017, manufacturing employment had retreated by -23%, to 1.7 million, while construction employment had surged by +75%, to 1.4 million.
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Ranking and Reviewing America’s Top Dozen Exporting States

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Article source: ConstructConnect

This article provides a ranking of America’s Top Dozen States according to their goods export volumes in full year 2017.

Total U.S. goods exports last year amounted to almost one-and-a-half trillion dollars.

Ranking and Reviewing America’s Top Dozen Exporting States Graphic

The background foreign trade data comes from the Census Bureau’s web-based site entitled USA Trade Online. While it’s relatively easy to open a free account, if one is not familiar with ‘pivot tables’, there is a bit of a learning curve to access the statistics.

The type-of-product designations follow the definitions in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

(1) Texas:

Texas, with export shipments of $264.1 billion and a 17.9% share of the nation’s total, was the leader among U.S. states for foreign sales in 2017. The NAICS category at the top of the Lone Star State’s exports list was ‘computer and electronic products’ ($47.0 billion), but close behind were ‘petroleum and coal products’ ($44.0 billion), ‘chemicals’ ($40.0 billion) and ‘oil and gas’ ($32.0). ‘Chemicals’ exports were dominated by synthetic rubber.

While Texas has a high level of computer-product exports, it would be more accurate to say that the State is especially strong in energy-product export sales. Energy products as a catch-all would combine refined petroleum (e.g., gasoline), chemicals, crude oil and natural gas for more than $100 billion.

In 2017, there were substantial increases in oil exports from Texas to China, Canada and South Korea. Other major customers for Texas crude last year were Mexico and Brazil.

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Total Employment Increase in U.S. and Canada in November +300,000

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

November’s Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) records a net gain in U.S. total jobs during the month of +228,000.

A Composite Ranking of Job Markets in 50 U.S. and 33 Canadian Cities

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Article source: ConstructConnect

Trying to get a handle on the relative performances of city labor markets is complicated by the fact that strength and weakness in the two most important indicators – jobs growth and the unemployment rate – are the reverse of each other.

What’s most desirable is a high rather than a low employment growth figure. But with respect to a jobless number, the wish is for a low rather than a high number.

There is a relatively simple means to circumvent this problem. First, rank all the cities under consideration according to their year-over-year jobs growth, fastest to slowest. Then compile a second listing according to unemployment rates, smallest to biggest.

The third critical stage is to calculate the average ranking for each city from steps one and two and to use that new number to place them in order by their ‘composite’ ranking.

The results for the 50 largest (by population) metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S. are shown in Table 1. Table 2 is similar for Canada, showcasing the nation’s 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

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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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