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BLS Releases April 2019 Consumer Price Index (May 2019)


The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.4 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 2.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index continued to increase, rising 5.7 percent and accounting for over two-thirds of the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase. The index for energy rose 2.9 percent, although the index for natural gas declined and the index for electricity was unchanged. The food index fell in April, its first monthly decline since June 2017.

Core inflation—all items minus food and energy—rose 0.1 percent in March.  The Fed’s preferred gauge has held steady at around its 2.0 percent price growth target, a “healthy for the economy” level.  Along with the shelter index, the indexes for medical care, new vehicles, recreation, education, and tobacco all increased.  In contrast, the indexes for apparel, used cars and trucks, and airline fares all declined in March.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.1 percent for the third consecutive month. The indexes for shelter, medical care, education, and new vehicles all rose in April. The indexes for used cars and trucks, apparel, and household furnishings and operations were among those that declined over the month. 

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

Next release is Wednesday, June 12, 2019, for the May 2019 Consumer Price Index.


Jeffrey B. Carr Presented EB-5 Economic Impact/Contribution Study (May 2019)


On Wednesday May 7, EPR President Jeff Carr presented EPR’s economic impact/contribution study of EB-5 project capital investment activity under the regional center program during federal fiscal years 2014 and 2015.  Jointly sponsored by the EB-5 Investor Coalition and IIUSA (the EB-5 industry trade association), this was a landmark study which for the first time measured the full economic contribution (including jobs, output and labor income) of the regional center program’s $10.98 billion in EB-5 project capital investment activity from 439 active projects during the two-year study period.  The study found that robust inter-regional supply chains and significant project capital investment activity under the program in all parts of the U.S. resulted in significant and geographically-widespread contributions to U.S. economic activity—including an estimated 355,200 jobs for U.S. workers, more than $55 billion in U.S. output growth, and $23 billion in increased U.S. labor income over the two federal fiscal years. These contributions accounted for 6.6% of the net new private sector jobs created by the entire U.S. economy, an estimated 3.4% of the U.S. economy’s total output growth, and approximately 2% of total labor income gains all relative to the net gains for the U.S. economy as a whole during the study period.  The OMB analyst in charge of the review of the proposed DHS regulations asked good follow-up questions about the study during the meeting, and the conversation on all points reflected a fully-engaged analyst interested in understanding all of the key facts related to the regulatory proposal.  EPR was pleased to present important economic testimony as part of the proceeding reviewing the proposed DHS EB-5 regulations initially published in January of 2017.

Please view the presentation at the pdf below.


BLS Releases April 2019 Employment Situation (May 2019)


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised up from +33,000 to +56,000, and the change for March was revised down from +196,000 to +189,000. With these revisions, employment gains in February and March combined were 16,000 more than previously reported.  (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors). After revisions, job gains have averaged 169,000 per month over the last 3 months.

In April, notable jobs gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care, and social assistance.Professional and business services added 76,000 jobs in April. In April, construction employment rose by 33,000, with gains in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+22,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000).  Employment in health care grew by 27,000 in April and 404,000 over the past 12 months. Social assistance added 26,000 jobs over the month, with all of the gain in individual and family services.

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $27.77. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.2 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 7 cents to $23.31 in April.

The full BLS press release on the April 2019 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:

The next employment situation report for May 2019 will be released on Friday, June 7, 2019. 



BEA Releases Final Estimate of First Quarter GDP (April 2019)


Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2018, real GDP increased 2.2 percent. The increase in real GDP in the first quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), private inventory investment, exports, state and local government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. These contributions were partly offset by a decrease in residential investment.

The acceleration in real GDP growth in the first quarter reflected an upturn in state and local government spending, accelerations in private inventory investment and in exports, and a smaller decrease in residential investment. These movements were partly offset by decelerations in PCE and nonresidential fixed investment, and a downturn in federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, turned down.


BEA Releases Final Estimate of Fourth Quarter and Annual GDP (April 2019)


During the fourth quarter of 2018 wholesale trade, mining, and information were the leading contributors to the increase in U.S. economic growth.   For the wholesale trade industry group, real value added—a measure of an industry’s contribution to GDP—increased 9.1 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 7.4 percent in the third quarter. Mining increased 38.0 percent in the fourth quarter, after no increase in the third. This was the largest increase for the industry since the fourth quarter of 2008 and primarily reflected an increase in oil and gas extraction.  Real GDP growth slowed to 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 3.4 percent in the third quarter.  Finance and insurance was the leading contributor to the deceleration with real value added for the industry group decreasing 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 5.5 percent in the third quarter. Retail trade decreased 2.5 percent in the fourth quarter, after increasing 6.3 percent, and was the second leading contributor to the slowdown. The deceleration was primarily attributed to other retail, which includes health and personal care stores, gasoline stations, and nonstore retailers.  Construction decreased 2.1 percent, after increasing 2.9 percent.

For all of 2018, annual Real GDP increased 2.9 percent (that is, from the 2017 annual level to the 2018 annual level). Information; professional, scientific, and technical services; and durable goods manufacturing were the leading contributors to the increase in real GDP. For information services, real value added increased 8.5 percent in 2018, after increasing 7.1 percent in 2017, primarily reflecting an increase in data processing, internet publishing, and other information services. Professional, scientific, and technical services increased 5.5 percent, after increasing 3.4 percent in 2017. This was the largest increase since 2008. Durable goods manufacturing increased 5.4 percent, after increasing 3.2 percent in 2017. The growth primarily reflected increases in motor vehicles, bodies and trailers, and parts as well as computer and electronic products.


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