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Macroeconomics

 

BLS Releases February 2017 Consumer Price Index (Mar. 2017)

03.15.2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in February on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  This increase was the smallest one-month rise since July 2016.  A decline in the gasoline index offset increases in the food, shelter, and recreation indexes.  The energy index fell 1.0 percent in February 2017, while the gasoline index fell 3.0 percent after a 7.8 percent increase in January.  The food index rose 0.2 percent in February, its largest rise since September 2015.

Excluding the volatile costs of food and energy, the index for all items less food and energy rose by 0.2 percent in February, primarily due to the increase in the indexes for shelter, recreation, apparel, airline fares, motor vehicle insurance, education, and health care, although the indexes for communication, used cars and trucks, new vehicles, and household furnishings and operations declined. 

The all items index has risen 2.7 percent over the last 12 months before seasonal adjustment; the all items index has been trending upward since a July 2016 low of 0.8 percent.   

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

Next release is Friday, April 14, 2017 for the March 2017 Consumer Price Index.


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BLS Releases February 2017 Employment Situation (Mar. 2017)

03.10.2017

The U.S. economy continued to create jobs at a modest pace in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Employers added 235,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in February of 2017.  The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent. 

Job gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, and health care. The number of jobs in construction increased by 58,000 over the month, private educational services by 29,000 jobs, manufacturing by 28,000 jobs, and health care by 27,000 jobs.

Job growth in January 2017 was revised to 238,000, up from the initially estimated 227,000.  Over the past three months, job growth has averaged 209,000 additions a month. 

Average hourly earnings rose by six cents to $26.09, following a five-cent increase in January.   Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen 2.8 percent. 

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

The next employment situation report for March 2017 will be released on Friday, April 7, 2017. 


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BLS Releases January 2017 Consumer Price Index (Feb. 2017)

02.15.2017

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in January on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  This increase is the largest since February 2013.  An increase in the gasoline index accounted for nearly half of the increase in CPI-U, although increases in the indexes for shelter, apparel, and new vehicles also contributed.  The energy index rose 4.0 percent in January 2017, while the gasoline index rose 7.8 percent.  The food index, which has not changed for the previous six months, rose 0.1 percent in January.  

Excluding the volatile costs of food and energy, the index for all items less food and energy rose by 0.3 percent in January, primarily due to the significant increases (0.8 percent or more) in the indexes for apparel, new vehicles, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares.  The shelter index rose only 0.2 percent, a smaller increase compared to recent months. 

The all items index has risen 2.5 percent over the last 12 months before seasonal adjustment, the largest 12-month increase since March 2012.     

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

Next release is Wednesday, March 15, 2017 for the February 2017 Consumer Price Index.


Web 

BLS Releases January 2017 Employment Situation (May 2017)

02.03.2017

The U.S. economy continued to create jobs at a modest pace in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Employers added 227,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January of 2017.  The unemployment rate was little changed at 4.8 percent.

Job gains occurred in retail trade, construction, and financial activities. The number of jobs in retail trade increased by 46,000 over the month, while construction added 36,000 jobs and financial activities added 32,000 jobs. 

Job growth in December 2016 was revised to 157,000, up from initially estimated 156,000.  Over the past three months, job growth has averaged 183,000 additions a month. 

Average hourly earnings rose by three cents to $26.00, following a six-cent increase in December.   Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen 2.5 percent. 

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

The next employment situation report for February 2017 will be released on Friday, March 10, 2017. 


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First Quarter 2017 VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey Results Released (Jan. 2017)

01.31.2017

The VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey for the fourth quarter of 2016/first quarter of 2017 has been released.  Most responses to the question about the state’s overall business climate outlook were positive (46%).  The remaining responses were split between neutral (32%) and negative (22%).  More than 50 percent of respondents (51%) shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions, compared to 60% in the previous survey.  The construction 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 higher capital spending plans, and a slightly more positive employment outlook than their national counterparts. 

 

For this reporting period, the diffusion index shows a increase in optimism from Q4 2016 to Q1 2017, indicating that Vermont CEOs continue to feel more optimistic about the business climate for the coming three months.  Vermont’s outlook appears to now be on an “improvement” trend given the responses from this and the previous survey, yet continues to demonstrate that economic conditions overall remain somewhat fragile in many areas of the State and in some parts of Vermont economy.

 

The Business Conditions Survey is conducted in partnership between the Vermont Business Roundtable and Economic & Policy Resources.  The nine question survey of the 97 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

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