Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the second quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent. The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE, federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment. The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter primarily reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. These downturns were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and federal government spending.
The second-quarter percent change in real GDP was the same as previously estimated. Downward revisions to PCE and nonresidential fixed investment were primarily offset by upward revisions to state and local government spending and exports, and a downward revision to imports.
The unemployment rate declined to 3.5 percent in September, and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 136,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in health care and in professional and business services continued to trend up.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 7,000 from +159,000 to +166,000, and the change for August was revised up by 38,000 from +130,000 to +168,000. With these revisions, employment gains in July and August combined were 45,000 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 157,000 per month over the last 3 months.
In September, health care added 39,000 jobs, in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. Ambulatory health care services (+29,000) and hospitals (+8,000) added jobs over the month. Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in September (+34,000). The industry has added an average of 35,000 jobs per month thus far in 2019, compared with 47,000 jobs per month in 2018. Employment in government continued on an upward trend in September (+22,000). Federal hiring for the 2020 Census was negligible (+1,000). Government has added 147,000 jobs over the past 12 months, largely in local government. Employment in transportation and warehousing edged up in September (+16,000). Within the industry, job growth occurred in transit and ground passenger transportation (+11,000) and in couriers and messengers (+4,000). Retail trade employment changed little in September (-11,000). Within the industry, clothing and clothing accessories stores lost 14,000 jobs, while food and beverage stores added 9,000 jobs. Since reaching a peak in January 2017, retail trade has lost 197,000 jobs. Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and leisure and hospitality, showed little change over the month.
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $28.09, were little changed (-1 cent), after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.9 percent. In September, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents to $23.65.
The full BLS press release on the September 2019 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:
The next employment situation report for October 2019 is scheduled to be released on Friday, November 1, 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.
On September 20, 2019, Administration Secretary Susanne Young released revenue results for the State of Vermont for the month of August and the first two months of the 2020 State Fiscal Year. According to Secretary Young, “General Fund receipts were below the consensus cash flow target for the month, while Transportation and Education Fund revenues were above target. Year to date, which is over the first two months of fiscal year 2020, General Fund revenues remain above target, and in total, the three funds are above their combined expectations." Secretary Young then noted; ”This early in the fiscal year, it is premature to draw any conclusions about full-year performance.”
Click the pdf below to download Secretary Young’s entire press release with the comprehensive State revenue receipts data.
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.1 percent in August on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.3 percent in July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.7 percent before seasonal adjustment.
Increases in the indexes for shelter and medical care were the major factors in the seasonally adjusted all items monthly increase, outweighing a decline in the energy index. The energy index fell 1.9 percent in August as the gasoline index declined 3.5 percent. The food index was unchanged for the third month in a row.
The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.3 percent in August, the same increase as in June and July. Along with the indexes for medical care and shelter, the indexes for recreation, used cars and trucks, and airline fares were among the indexes that increased in August. The indexes for new vehicles and household furnishings and operations declined over the month.
The all items index increased 1.7 percent for the 12 months ending August; the 12-month increase has remained in the range of 1.5 to 2.0 percent since the period ending December 2018. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.4 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since July 2018. The food index rose 1.7 percent over the last year while the energy index declined 4.4 percent.
The full press release can be found via the link below.
Next release is Thursday, October 10, 2019, for the September 2019 Consumer Price Index.