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Vermont Business Round Table/EPR Third Quarter Business Conditions Survey Released (July 2019)


Lisa Ventriss, President of Vermont Business Roundtable (VBR) and Jeffrey Carr, President, Economic & Policy Resources (EPR), announced the Q3 of 2019 outlook results of their joint initiative, the VBR/EPR Business Conditions Survey and Index. The latest survey, which was conducted during July of 2019, achieved a response rate of 63 percent overall.

Two-thirds of respondents shared negative outlooks specifically with ease of hiring for available positions (67%); a slight shift toward neutral from the previous survey (76%) and is reflective of the chronic demographic-workforce growth challenges in Vermont; A majority of respondents expressed a neutral outlook about the state’s overall business climate (54% Neutral, 22% Negative); a slight shift toward negative outlook of the previous survey (62% Neutral, 14% Negative). When asked, “Are you more or less optimistic about the general business climate in your sector compared to three months ago?”...overall the responses were largely neutral or negative. The Accommodation and Food Service sector expressed the most optimism (29%), while the Manufacturing sector had the most pessimistic outlook (75%).

The survey is attached as a pdf below.  The next survey will be conducted in October 2019.


BEA Releases 1st Quarter Final Estimate GPD (June 2019)


Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 2.2 percent. In the second estimate, the increase in real GDP was also 3.1 percent. Upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, exports, state and local government spending, and residential fixed investment were offset by downward revisions to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and inventory investment and an upward revision to imports.


The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from exports, PCE, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, and state and local government spending that were slightly offset by a negative contribution from residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. The acceleration in real GDP in the first quarter reflected an upturn in state and local government spending and accelerations in private inventory investment and in exports. These movements were partly offset by a deceleration in PCE. Imports decreased in the first quarter after increasing in the fourth.

The pdf of the release is shown below.




BLS Releases June 2019 Consumer Price Index (July 2019)


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in May, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

Increases in the indexes for shelter, apparel, and used cars and trucks more than offset declines in energy indexes to result in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase in June. The energy index fell 2.3 percent as all of the major energy component indexes declined. The food index was unchanged as the index for food away from home rose but the index for food at home declined.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 in June, its largest monthly increase since January 2018. Along with the indexes for shelter, used cars and trucks, and apparel, the indexes for household furnishings and operations, medical care, and motor vehicle insurance were among the indexes that increased in June. The indexes for recreation, airline fares, and personal care all declined in June.

The all items index increased 1.6 percent for the 12 months ending June, a smaller increase than the 1.8-percent rise for the period ending May. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.1 percent over the last 12 months, and the food index increased 1.9 percent. The energy index, in contrast, declined 3.4 percent over the last 12 months.

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


BLS Releases June Employment Situation (July 2019)


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 224,000 in June, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 3.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, in health care, and in transportation and warehousing.


The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised down from +224,000 to +216,000, and the change for May was revised down from +75,000 to +72,000. With these revisions, employment gains in April and May combined were 11,000 less than previously reported.  After revisions, job gains have averaged 171,000 per month over the last 3 months.


In June, Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs.  Employment growth in the industry has averaged 35,000 per month in the first half of 2019. Employment in health care increased by 35,000 over the month and by 403,000 over the past 12 months. Transportation and warehousing added 24,000 jobs over the month and 158,000 over the past 12 months. Construction employment continued to trend up in June (+21,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Manufacturing employment edged up in June (+17,000), following 4 months of little change. So far this year, job growth in the industry has averaged 8,000 per month, compared with an average of 22,000 per month in 2018.  Employment in other major industries, including mining, wholesaletrade, retailtrade, information, financialactivities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little change over the month.


In June, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.90, following a 9-cent gain in May. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $23.43 in June.


The next employment situation report for July 2019 is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 2, 2019.

The BLS release can be viewed in the pdf below. 



May FY 2019 Revenue Receipts Web-Summary (June 2019)


On June 19, 2019, Secretary of Administration Susanne Young announced revenue results for the State of Vermont for May of fiscal year 2019.  Revenue receipts in the General Fund were essentially on target for the month of May and remained significantly above target for the fiscal year through May 31st.  Revenues in the Transportation Fund performed above their monthly target for May but remained slightly below its cumulative, through May consensus cash flow target.  Collections in the Education Fund were slightly below monthly and annual consensus cash flow targets through the eleventh month of the 2019 fiscal year.  The Secretary said that “...General Fund receipts were on track for a substantial revenue surplus” for fiscal year 2019 as a whole.  She noted the surplus has been appropriated to: (1) replenish the reserves at the Agency of Human Services, (2) increase the balance in the State’s “Rainy Day Fund” for the General Fund, and (3) build the balance of the State Employees Health Benefits Trust Fund.  The Secretary further noted that those actions, as passed under House Bill 542, “...will result in another step forward on the path of paying down the State's unfunded liabilities." 


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