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Posts Tagged ‘market’

U.S. Wage Gains: Construction versus other Major Industrial Sectors

Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

At the end of 2010, the unemployment rate in the United States was 9.3%.

Five years later, as of December 2015, the national jobless figure has been cut nearly in half, to stand at 5.0%.

There’s a common lament being heard that the tightening in U.S. labor markets has been overstated because a large bloc of potential workers has given up hunting for a job.

Furthermore, so the argument goes, whatever employment improvement has happened isn’t yet leading to better wages and salaries and the economy won’t really build up a head of steam until workers are being paid more, so they can spend more.

This Economy at a Glance will look at the percentage changes of year-over-year average hourly earnings for both production and supervisory workers in the private sector as a whole, and for major industrial sectors. Historical data can be readily downloaded from the web site of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In the hopes of finding trend lines, the analysis in this EAAG will be limited to the past five years.

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A Baker’s Dozen Mid-January Economic Nuggets

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

In the early going of 2016, the headline story has been the heightened level of anxiety displayed by stock market investors. Versus 2015’s year-end closings, both the Dow Jones Industrials index and the S&P 500 are -6.0%; NASDAQ is -7.8%; and the Toronto Stock Exchange, -5.2%.

 

Compared with their most recent highs, the DJI is -10.7%; the S&P 500, -10.0%; NASDAQ, -11.8%; and the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), -20.5%. The TSX has given its passengers a particularly bumpy ride. It has fallen into ‘bear’ territory (i.e., a decline of 20% or more.)

 

The main widely-cited reason for the sell-offs has been an expectation of weaker growth in China. There are two highly-charged ways in which such a pull-back has unfortunate repercussions for the U.S. and Canadian economies. First, the value of the yuan is being lowered, to make the price of Chinese exports more competitive in world markets.

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U.S. and Canada December Jobs Reports Should Quell Some Jitters

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. economy recorded its second-best month for jobs-growth last year in December, +292,000. Only October’s +307,000 was better.

 

2015 ended with a gain (+292,000) that was considerably above the monthly average for the year as a whole (+221,000). There is speculation by some analysts that December’s strong result may have been aided by weather that was unseasonably warm.

 

The final tally of the total number of jobs in America at year-end 2015 was ahead by 2.65 million compared with 2014. One big story has been the shift in the composition of those jobs. According the ‘household survey’ of employment, all of the grand-total increase came in full-time work. The total number of part-time jobs contracted slightly.

 

Earlier, after the Great Recession, concern was often expressed that while the jobs picture was improving, too often the work being offered was of the poorer quality, lower-paying and less-stable part-time variety. This dilemma appears to have self-corrected in the latest 12 months.

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Eight Demography Charts that Explain U.S. Construction Activity

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Article source: CMDGroup

Talk to a demographer and he or she is likely to tell you that everything important that is happening in society and business can be explained by their practice or science.

 

As an economist, I don’t fully subscribe to such an assertion. Besides, what would I do if I didn’t have interest rates, inflation and government policy to mentally juggle as well as the study of demography?

 

But I don’t dismiss the claim out of hand either.

 

It does warrant admitting that population level, change and age-structure over time are key determinants of construction activity in several major type-of-structure categories.

 

That will be the focus of this Economy at a Glance, in two parts. The story will be told through the use of eight graphs.

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U.S. Economy and Construction Markets – Executive Summary for Greenbuild

Friday, November 13th, 2015

Article source: CMDGroup

  • Globally, the U.S. economy is outperforming all others.
  • Europe is still sluggish and the ECB (European Central Bank) may embark on more quantitative easing. Likewise Japan and its central bank. China’s monetary agency has been lowering interest rates to stimulate growth.
  • In the mid-00s, China accounted for 40% to 50% of world demand for most commodities. With China’s slowdown, prices for raw materials worldwide are in the doldrums.
  • The present economic forecast can be labeled a ‘throwback’ in the sense that it’s similar to the 1990s and earlier when the U.S. always led growth internationally.
  • Furthermore, in those ‘old’ days, U.S. prospects were limited by large-volume foreign energy imports. Now, thanks to domestic fracking, that handicap has been lifted.
  • The U.S. monthly foreign trade deficit (annualized) has shrunk from a range of -$600 to -$800 (billions) to -$400 to -$600 (billions). The reduction is quite positive for GDP.
  • China’s growth has dimmed from a range of +10% to +12% to an ‘official figure’ of +6.5%. Many analysts believe the nation’s annual advance may truly be closer to +3.5%.
  • In an unprecedented turnaround, there have been several months this year when the U.S. has recorded a trade surplus with both OPEC and Saudi Arabia. A cause for headlines.
  • The Federal Reserve will likely begin to hike the federal funds rate in December. The increments over the next couple of years will almost certainly be tiny (100 basis points at most each year, where 100 basis points = 1.00%).
  • When the U.S. economy is functioning on all cylinders, annual ‘real’ (i.e., adjusted for inflation) gross domestic product (GDP) growth is +3.5%. From 2015 through 2017, probably the best that can be hoped for is +2.0% to +2.5%.

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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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