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Vermont Business Roundtable/EPR Third Quarter Business Conditions Survey Released (May 2017)

05.10.2017

The VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey for the first quarter/second quarter of 2017 has been released.  Most responses to the question about the state’s overall business climate outlook were neutral (55%).  The remaining responses were split between positive (24%) and negative (21%).  About three-quarters of respondents (74%) shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions, compared to half (51%) in the previous survey.  The information sector had the most optimistic outlook on the general business climate, while the health care sector had the least optimistic outlook.  Compared to the national Business Roundtable CEO Survey, Vermont companies are predicting lower capital spending plans, and a more neutral or stable employment outlook than their national counterparts. 

 

For this reporting period, the diffusion index shows a slide back to neutral from Q1 2017 to Q2 2017, indicating that Vermont CEOs continue to feel uncertain about the business climate in many areas of the State and sectors of the Vermont economy for the coming three months.  Based on the highest frequency of comments, respondents expressed concern about the relatively high cost of living in Vermont, high health care costs, and the shrinking labor pool.

 

The Business Conditions Survey is conducted in partnership between the Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic & Policy Resources.  The nine question survey of the approximately 100 members of the Vermont Business Roundtable captures a glimpse of how Vermont business leaders see the state economy.  The survey asks business leaders how  their businesses have fared in the recent past and how they view the future.  Sentiments regarding the current and expected business climate and the expected impact on hiring and investing decisions are also surveyed.   Included in the standard survey is a question asking roundtable members for opinions on a current debate in public policy.   Along with providing a snapshot of the Vermont business climate, the survey allows Vermonters to see how these markers change over time.


The press release is available as a PDF below.


PDF

BLS Releases April 2017 Employment Situation (May 2017)

05.05.2017

Employers added 211,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April of 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The unemployment rate declined to 4.4 percent.


Job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, financial activities, and mining. The number of jobs in professional and business services increased by 39,000 over the month. 

 

Job growth in March 2017 was revised to 79,000, down from the initially estimated 98,000.  Over the past three months, job growth has averaged 174,000 additions a month.

 

Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents to $26.19.   Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen 2.5 percent. 

 

The full BLS press release on the April 2017 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:

 

The next employment situation report for May 2017 will be released on Friday, June 2, 2017.


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BEA Releases Advance Estimate of First Quarter GDP (Apr. 2017)

04.28.2017

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its “advance” estimate of first quarter 2017 Gross Domestic Product.  The advance estimate is based on data that may be incomplete or subject to revision.  The second estimate, released on May 26, 2017, will be based on more complete data.

The advance estimate shows that real GDP increased at an annual rate of 0.7 percent during the first quarter of 2017.  In the fourth quarter of 2016, real GDP increased 2.1 percent (revised).

The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, exports, residential fixed investment, and personal consumption expenditures (PCE), that were offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, state and local government spending, and federal government spending.  Imports, which is subtracted in the GDP calculation, increased. 

The full BEA press release on the advanced estimate of first quarter GDP can be accessed in the link below.

The next release—for the second estimate of first quarter GDP 2017 will be released on May 26, 2017. 


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BLS Releases March 2017 Consumer Price Index (Apr. 2017)

04.14.2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) decreased 0.3 percent in March on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  A decline in the gasoline index was the main cause of the decrease.  The gasoline index fell 6.2 percent in March 2017.  The food index rose 0.3 percent in March following a 0.2 percent increase in February, and the energy index fell 3.2 percent in March following a 1.0 percent decline in February.

Excluding the volatile costs of food and energy, the index for all items less food and energy declined by 0.1 percent in March, primarily due to the decrease in the indexes for communication (less 3.5 percent), used cars and trucks (less 0.9 percent), new vehicles (less 0.3 percent), and apparel (less 0.7 percent). 

The all items index has risen 2.4 percent over the last 12 months before seasonal adjustment; a smaller increase than the 2.7 percent rise for the period ending in February.  The indexes for shelter and medical care both rose 3.5 percent over the past 12 months. 

The full press release can be found via the link below.

Next release is Friday, May 12, 2017 for the April 2017 Consumer Price Index.


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BLS Releases March 2017 Employment Situation (Apr. 2017)

04.07.2017

Employers added 98,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in March of 2017, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent.

Job gains occurred in professional and business services, but there were job losses in retail trade. The number of jobs in professional and business services increased by 56,000 over the month, while retail trade lost 30,000 jobs.

Job growth in February 2017 was revised to 219,000, down from the initially estimated 235,000.  Over the past three months, job growth has averaged 178,000 additions a month. 

Average hourly earnings rose by five cents to $26.14, following a seven-cent increase in February.   Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen 2.7 percent.  

 

The full BLS press release on the March 2017 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:

 

 

The next employment situation report for April 2017 will be released on Friday, May 5, 2017. 


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