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Economy expands at a 2.9% rate in Third Quarter 2016 (Oct. 2016)


The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) announced Friday that U.S. GDP grew at a 2.9% annual rate in the 3rd quarter of 2016.  Growth was boosted by a 10.0% surge in exports and an increase in inventories.  However, the 2.7% drop in equipment investment indicates that companies may be planning for lower future growth. 

Quarterly growth did not break 3.0%, but 3rd quarter GDP grew at the fastest rate in two years.  These results are likely to weigh on the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for the remainder of the year.

The full BEA press release on 3rd quarter GDP can be accessed in the link below:

The First revision for 3rd quarter GDP is scheduled for November 29, 2016.  


BLS Releases September 2016 Consumer Price Index (Oct. 2016)


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.3 percent in September on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  Increases in housing and gasoline were the main causes behind the rise in the all-items index.  Excluding the volatile costs of food and energy, the so-called core prices rose 0.1 percent. 

Overall prices have risen 1.5 percent over the last 12 months; while still a sluggish pace historically, it registered the largest gain in any 12-month period since October 2014; driven largely by housing and health care costs.  Core prices rose 2.2 percent over the same period. 

Gasoline prices, depressed for much of the past two years, are starting to rise again as oil markets rebound.  The gasoline index rose 5.8 percent in September and accounted for more than half of the all-items increase. 

The Federal government will use the data from this report to determine how much to increase federal benefits for millions of Americans who receive Social Security checks.  Benefits will rise 0.3 percent next year, under an annual cost-of-living adjustment that is tied to how much certain prices grew between July and September, according to the Social Security Administration. 

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

Next release is Thursday, November 17, 2016 for the October 2016 Consumer Price Index.


BLS Releases September 2016 Employment Situation (Oct. 2016)


The U.S. economy continued to create jobs at a modest pace in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Employers added 156,000 jobs in September.  Job growth in August was revised to 167,000, up from initially estimated 151,000.  Over the past three months, job growth has averaged 191,700 additions a month. 

Average hourly earnings rose 2.6 percent through September, slightly better than July’s increase of 2.4 percent.  Throughout 2015, annual wage growth averaged 2.3 percent. 

Though the jobless rate of 5.0 percent slightly increased in September, the rate has shown little net movement since August 2015.  More individuals are returning to the workforce, while labor market conditions are tightening.

The full BLS press release on September 2016 employment situation can be accessed in the link below:

The next employment situation report for October 2016 will be released on Friday, November 4, 2016. 


BEA Releases Third Estimate of Second Quarter 2016 Gross Domestic Product (Sept. 2016)


The Bureau of Economic Analysis released its latest gauge of second quarter gross domestic product (GDP), showing growth at a 1.4 percent inflation-adjusted annual rate after the first quarter’s 0.8 percent.  This is the “third” estimate, based on more complete source data than were available for the “second” estimate issued last month.  In that second estimate, the increase in real GDP was 1.1 percent.  

Despite the better reading, the growth rate for the first half of the year is just above 1 percent.  That is a significant slowdown from the expansion’s 2.1 percent average annual rate; which itself is the weakest of any period of growth since 1949. 

The full press release is accessible via the link below:

Next release is October 28, 2016 for the Advance Estimate, Third Quarter, 2016 Gross Domestic Product


BLS Releases August 2016 Consumer Price Index (Sept. 2016)


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.2 percent in August on a seasonally-adjusted basis.  The seasonally adjusted index was caused by a rise in the index for all items other than food and energy.  This increased by 0.3 percent in August, propelled by indexes for shelter and medical care.  Energy and food indexes were both unchanged in August. 

Over the last 12 months, the all items index rose 1.1 percent before seasonal adjustment.  The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.3 percent for the 12-months ending in August.  The food index remained unchanged; while the energy index declined 9.2 percent.

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

Next release is October 18, 2016 for the September 2016 Consumer Price Index.


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