Nonfarm employers posted strong employment growth, adding 304,000 jobs; the unemployment rate edged upward to 4.0 percent; and hourly wages posted continued growth in January. The revision to the job growth reported for the prior two months was mixed, with November revised up by 20,000 jobs and December revised down by 90,000 jobs. The three-month average was 241,000 jobs, more than the 223,000 average monthly rate for calendar year 2018.
Job gains occurred across a wide range of sectors in January including leisure and hospitality, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. Leisure and hospitality added 74,000 jobs, largely among food service and drinking places and amusement, gambling, and recreation. Construction added 52,000 jobs, health care added 42,000, transportation and warehousing added 27,000 jobs, and retail trade added 21,000 jobs in January. Professional and business services, with 30,000 jobs added in January, has added 546,000 jobs over the last 12 months. Health care added 368,000 year-over-year. Both continued to be the biggest drivers of job growth; with solid gains over the last 12 months also coming from construction (338,000) and manufacturing (261,000).
Despite strong nonfarm jobs growth, the unemployment rate increased to 4.0 percent in January, from 3.9 percent in December, as the strong labor market conditions pulled more people into the labor market. During the month, the labor force participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage points. The employment rate—or employment-to-population ratio (EPOP or the percentage of adults with jobs) edged up as well in January to 60.7, a high for the recovery.
The tighter labor market is showing some dividends in wage growth. The average hourly wage is up 3.2 percent over the last year; over the last three months (November, December, and January), the annualized rate was up 3.3 percent. With the core rate of inflation at 2.2 percent, increased hourly wages translate to modest real wage gains.
In sum, this is mostly a positive jobs report. The pace of job growth that began seven years ago is continuing, with the economy adding a total of 2.7 million jobs during 2018. This growth rate is pulling more workers into the labor market, which is now tight enough to produce real wage gains.
The full BLS press release on the January 2019 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:
The next employment situation report for February 2019 will be released on Friday, March 8, 2019.
Economic & Policy Resources Inc. and Crane Associates Inc. prepared and submitted to The Town of Queensbury, NY an Affordable Housing Strategy, dated January 18, 2019. You may view the pdf of this strategy at the link below.
On January 18, 2019, Administration Secretary Susanne Young Released General Fund, Transportation Fund, and Education Fund revenue results for the month of December and the first half of the State’s 2019 fiscal year. Revenue results for December were below target for the month in both the G-Fund and T-Fund. The monthly under-performance in the G-Fund was mainly the result of very low receipts in December Personal Income Tax Quarterly Estimated Payments and higher than expected Personal Income Tax Refunds. In the T-Fund, the under-performance in receipts relative to the December monthly consensus cash flow target in Motor Vehicle Fees and Purchase & Use Tax receipts were primarily responsible for the monthly downside miss. Receipts in the E-Fund finished above its December target resulting from the second consecutive monthly rebound performance in Sales & Use Tax receipts during December. Despite the below target receipts activity for December in the G-Fund and T-Fund, cumulative receipts for both fund aggregates finished the first six months of FY 19 ahead of cumulative expectations, while cumulative E-Fund receipts finished slightly below target by less than 0.1%. On January 22, 2019, the Vermont Emergency Board approved the staff recommended consensus revenue forecast update for the G-Fund, T-Fund, and E-Fund. The updated consensus revenue forecasts superseded those December and cumulative first half consensus cash flow targets as of the Vermont Emergency Board’s approval of the updated forecast.
On January 22, 2019, Jeffrey Carr of EPR presented the updated consensus revenue forecast for the State of Vermont before the Vermont Emergency Board. Click below to download a copy of the Forecast Update Report.
The Consumer Price Index report, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, provides the latest evidence that inflation is more or less in line with where the Federal Reserve Bank wants it to be. The Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) declined by 0.1 percent in December. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased by 1.9 percent before seasonal adjustment.
The seasonally adjusted decline was caused by a sharp decrease in the gasoline index, which fell by 7.5 percent in December, more than offsetting increases in other indexes including shelter, food, and other energy components. The energy index declined overall by 3.5 percent, as gasoline and fuel oil indexes fell, but natural gas and electricity indexes increased. Food indexes—food at home and food away from home—increased by 0.4 percent in December.
Core inflation—all items minus food and energy—rose 0.2 percent in December the same increase in both October and November. Indexes for shelter, recreation, medical care, and household furnishings and operations increased in December; in contrast, airline fares, used cars and trucks, and motor vehicle insurance declined during the month.
The all items index increased 1.9 percent over the last 12 months ending in December; marking the first time the 12-month change has been under 2.0 percent since August 2017. Core inflation rose 2.2 percent over the last 12 months. The energy index decreased by 0.3 percent, marking the first decline in the 12-month energy index since the period ending September 2016, while the food index increased by 1.6 percent over the last 12 months.
The full press release can be found via the link below.
Next release is Wednesday, February 13, 2019, for the January 2019 Consumer Price Index.