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BLS Releases September 2020 Employment Situation (Sept. 2020)

10.02.2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 661,000 in September, and the unemployment rate declined to 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In September, nonfarm employment was below its February level by 10.7 million, or 7.0 percent. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and social assistance, and in professional and business services. Employment declined in government, mainly in state and local government education.

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 318,000 in September, with almost two-thirds of the gain occurring in food services and drinking places (+200,000). Despite job growth totaling 3.8 million over the last 5 months, employment in food services and drinking places is down by 2.3 million since February. Amusements, gambling, and recreation (+69,000) and accommodation (+51,000) also added jobs in September.

Retail trade added 142,000 jobs over the month, with gains widespread in the industry. Clothing and clothing accessories stores (+40,000) accounted for about one-fourth of the over-the-month change in retail trade. Notable employment increases also occurred in general merchandise stores (+20,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (+16,000), and health and personal care stores (+16,000). Employment in retail trade is 483,000 lower than in February.

Employment in health care and social assistance rose by 108,000 in September but is down by 1.0 million since February. Health care added 53,000 jobs in September, with continued growth in offices of physicians (+18,000), home health care services (+16,000), and offices of other health practitioners (+14,000). Social assistance added 55,000 jobs, mostly in individual and family services (+32,000) and in child day care services (+18,000).

Professional and business services added 89,000 jobs in September. Employment increased in services to buildings and dwellings (+22,000), architectural and engineering services (+13,000), and computer systems design and related services (+12,000). Despite gains of 910,000 since April, employment in professional and business services is 1.4 million lower than in February.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 74,000 in September. Within the industry, job gains continued in warehousing and storage (+32,000), transit and ground passenger transportation (+21,000), and couriers and messengers (+10,000). Although the industry has added 291,000 jobs since May, employment in transportation and warehousing is 304,000 lower than in February.

Manufacturing added 66,000 jobs over the month. Durable goods accounted for about two-thirds of the gain, led by motor vehicles and parts (+14,000) and machinery (+14,000). Despite gains over the past 5 months, employment in manufacturing is 647,000 below February’s level.

Financial activities added 37,000 jobs in September. Job growth occurred in real estate and rental and leasing (+20,000) and in finance and insurance (+16,000). Employment in financial activities is 162,000 below the level in February.

In September, the other services industry added 36,000 jobs, largely in membership associations and organizations (+31,000). Employment in other services is 495,000 lower than in February.

Employment in information grew by 27,000 in September but is down by 276,000 since February.  Motion picture and sound recording industries accounted for most of the September gain (+23,000).

Construction employment increased by 26,000 in September, with growth in residential specialty trade contractors (+16,000) and construction of buildings (+12,000). Construction employment is below its February level by 394,000.

In September, wholesale trade added 19,000 jobs, with gains in both the durable and nondurable goods components (+13,000 and +8,000, respectively). Employment in wholesale trade is 312,000 lower than in February.

Government employment declined by 216,000 in September. Employment in local government education and state government education fell by 231,000 and 49,000, respectively. A decrease of 34,000 in federal government was driven by a decline in the number of temporary Census 2020 workers. Partially offsetting these declines, employment in local government, excluding education, rose by 96,000.

Employment in private education decreased by 69,000 in September, after a gain of similar magnitude in August. Employment in the industry is down by 355,000 since February. Employment changed little in mining in September (+1,000). Employment in the industry is down by 133,000 since a recent peak in January 2019; about three-fourths of this decline has occurred since February of this year.

In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $29.47, changed little (+2 cents). Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees were also little changed in September (+1 cent) at $24.79. The large employment fluctuations over the past several months—especially in industries with lower-paid workers—complicate the analysis of recent trends in average hourly earnings.

The full BLS press release on the September 2020 employment situation can be accessed in the link below.

The next Employment Situation for October 2020 is scheduled to be released on Friday, November 6, 2020. 


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GDP Second Quarter, Third Estimate (Sept. 2020)

09.30.2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on the Second-Quarter 2020 GDP Estimate:  The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as “stay-at-home” orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses. This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the second quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 31.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 5.0 percent. In the second estimate, the decrease in real GDP was 31.7 percent. The upward revision with the third estimate primarily reflected an upward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) that was partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to nonresidential fixed investment.

The decrease in real GDP reflected decreases in PCE, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by an increase in federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.

The decrease in PCE reflected decreases in services (led by health care) and goods (led by clothing and footwear). The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in goods (led by capital goods). The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment (led by transportation equipment). The decrease in private inventory investment primarily reflected a decrease in retail (led by motor vehicle dealers). The decrease in residential investment primarily reflected decreases in new single-family housing.

In the third estimate, the second-quarter change in real GDP was revised up 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. PCE, residential investment, and state and local government spending were revised up. These upward revisions were partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to private nonresidential fixed investment (mainly intellectual property products).

 


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BLS Releases August 2020 Consumer Price Index (Sept. 2020)

09.11.2020

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.4 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, all items index increased 1.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index was broad-based; a sharp rise in the used cars and trucks index was the largest factor, but the indexes for gasoline, shelter, recreation, and household furnishings and operations also contributed. The energy index rose 0.9 percent in August as the gasoline index rose 2.0 percent. The food index rose 0.1 percent in August after falling in July; an increase in the food away from home index more than offset a slight decline in the food at home index.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.4 percent in August after increasing 0.6 percent in July. The sharp rise in the index for used cars and trucks accounted for over 40 percent of the increase; the indexes for shelter, recreation, household furnishings and operations, apparel, motor vehicle insurance, and airline fares also rose. The indexes for education and personal care were among the few to decline.

The all items index increased 1.3 percent for the 12 months ending August; this figure has been rising since the period ending May 2020, when the 12-month increase was 0.1 percent. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months. The food index increased 4.1 percent over the last 12 months, with the index for food at home rising 4.6 percent. Despite recent monthly increases, the energy index fell 9.0 percent over the last 12 months.

Next release is Tuesday, October 13, 2020, for the September 2020 Consumer Price Index.


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BLS Releases August 2020 Employment Situation (Sept. 2020)

09.04.2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.4 million in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. In August, an increase in government employment largely reflected temporary hiring for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.4 million in August, following increases of larger magnitude in the prior 3 months. In August, nonfarm employment was below its February level by 11.5 million, or 7.6 percent. Government employment rose in August, largely reflecting temporary hiring for the 2020 Census. Notable job gains also occurred in retail trade, in professional and business services, in leisure and hospitality, and in education and health services.

Employment in government increased by 344,000 in August, accounting for one-fourth of the over-the-month gain in total nonfarm employment. A job gain in federal government (+251,000) reflected the hiring of 238,000 temporary 2020 Census workers. Local government employment rose by 95,000 over the month. Overall, government employment is 831,000 below its February level.

Retail trade added 249,000 jobs in August, with almost half the growth occurring in general merchandise stores (+116,000). Notable gains also occurred in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+22,000), electronics and appliance stores (+21,000), and miscellaneous store retailers (+17,000). Employment in retail trade is 655,000 lower than in February.

In August, employment in professional and business services increased by 197,000. More than half of the gain occurred in temporary help services (+107,000). Architectural and engineering services (+14,000), business support services (+13,000), and computer systems design and related services (+13,000) also added jobs over the month. Employment in professional and business services is 1.5 million below its February level.

Employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 174,000 in August, with about three-fourths of the gain occurring in food services and drinking places (+134,000). Despite job gains totaling 3.6 million over the last 4 months, employment in food services and drinking places is down by 2.5 million since February.

In August, employment in education and health services increased by 147,000 but is 1.5 million below February’s level. Health care employment increased by 75,000 over the month, with gains in offices of physicians (+27,000), offices of dentists (+22,000), hospitals (+14,000), and home health care services (+12,000). Elsewhere in health care, job losses continued in nursing and residential care facilities (-14,000). Employment in private education rose by 57,000 over the month.

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 78,000 in August, with gains in warehousing and storage (+34,000), transit and ground passenger transportation (+11,000), and truck transportation (+10,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing is down by 381,000 since February.  The other services industry added 74,000 jobs in August, reflecting gains in membership associations and organizations (+31,000), repair and maintenance (+29,000), and personal and laundry services (+14,000). Employment in other services is 531,000 lower than in February.

Financial activities added 36,000 jobs in August, with most of the growth in real estate and rental and leasing (+23,000). Employment in financial activities is down by 191,000 since February. In August, manufacturing employment rose by 29,000, with gains concentrated in the nondurable goods component (+27,000). Despite gains in recent months, employment in manufacturing is 720,000 below February’s level.


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BLS Releases July 2020 Consumer Price Index (Aug. 2020)

08.12.2020

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.6 percent in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the same increase as in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.0 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The gasoline index continued to rise in July after increasing sharply in June and accounted for about one quarter of the monthly increase in the seasonally adjusted all items index. The energy index increased 2.5 percent in July as the gasoline index rose 5.6 percent. This was partially offset by the food index, which decreased 0.4 percent in July, with the index for food at home declining 1.1 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.6 percent in July, its largest increase since January 1991. The index for motor vehicle insurance increased sharply in July, as it did the previous month. The indexes for shelter, communication, used cars and trucks, and medical care also increased in July, while the index for recreation declined.

The all items index increased 1.0 percent for the 12 months ending July, a larger increase than the 0.6- percent rise for the period ending June. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.6 percent over the last 12 months. The food index increased 4.1 percent over the last 12 months, with the index for food at home rising 4.6 percent. Despite increasing in July, the energy index fell 11.2 percent over the last 12 months.

Next release is Friday, September 11, 2020, for the August 2020 Consumer Price Index.


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