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06.02.2020

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BEA Releases 1st Qtr GDP-2nd Estimate (May 2020)

05.28.2020

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 5.0 percent in the first quarter of 2020,according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter, real GDP increased 2.1 percent. The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the decrease in real GDP was 4.8 percent. With the second estimate, a downward revision to private inventory investment was partly offset by upward revisions to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed Investment.

The decline in first quarter GDP reflected the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued “stay-at-home” orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter reflected negative contributions from PCE, private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, and exports that were partly offset by positive contributions from residential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.  The decrease in PCE reflected a decrease in services, led by health care as well as food services and accommodations. The decrease in private inventory investment was mainly in nondurable goods manufacturing, led by petroleum and coal products. The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment, led by transportation equipment. The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in services, led by travel.


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BLS Releases April 2020 Consumer Price Index (May 2020)

05.12.2020

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined 0.8 percent in April on a seasonally adjusted basis, the largest monthly decline since December 2008, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 0.3 percent before seasonal adjustment.

A 20.6-percent decline in the gasoline index was the largest contributor to the monthly decrease in the seasonally adjusted all items index, but the indexes for apparel, motor vehicle insurance, airline fares, and lodging away from home all fell sharply as well. In contrast, food indexes rose in April, with the index for food at home posting its largest monthly increase since February 1974. The energy index declined mostly due to the decrease in the gasoline index, though some energy component indexes rose.

The index for all items less food and energy fell 0.4 percent in April, the largest monthly decline in the history of the series, which dates to 1957. Along with the indexes mentioned above, the indexes for used cars and trucks and recreation also declined. The indexes for rent, owners’ equivalent rent, medical care, and household furnishings and operations all increased in April.

The all items index increased 0.3 percent for the 12 months ending April, the smallest 12-month increase since October 2015. The index for all items less food and energy increased 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, its smallest increase since April 2011. The energy index fell 17.7 percent over the last year. In contrast, the food index rose 3.5 percent over the last 12 months, its largest 12-month increase since February 2012.

Next release is Wednesday, June 10, 2020, for the May 2020 Consumer Price Index. 


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BLS Releases April 2020 Employment Situation (May 2020)

05.08.2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it. Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality.

In April, the unemployment rate increased by 10.3 percentage points to 14.7 percent. This is the highest rate and the largest over-the-month increase in the history of the series (seasonally adjusted data are available back to January 1948).  The number of unemployed persons rose by 15.9 million to 23.1 million in April.  The sharp increases in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, after declining by 881,000 in March.  The April over-the-month decline is the largest in the history of the series and brought employment to its lowest level since January 2011 (the series dates back to 1939).  Job losses in April were widespread, with the largest employment decline occurring in leisure and hospitality.

In April, employment in leisure and hospitality plummeted by 7.7 million, or 47 percent. Almost threequarters of the decrease occurred in food services and drinking places (-5.5 million).  Employment also fell in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry (-1.3 million) and in the accommodation industry (-839,000).  Employment declined by 2.5 million in education and health services in April.  In health care, employment declined by 1.4 million, led by losses in offices of dentists (-503,000), offices of physicians (-243,000), and offices of other health care practitioners (-205,000).  Employment also declined in social assistance (-651,000), reflecting job losses in child day care services (-336,000) and individual and family services (-241,000).  Employment in private education declined by 457,000 over the month.  Professional and business services shed 2.2 million jobs in April. Sharp losses occurred in temporary help services (-842,000) and in services to buildings and dwellings (-259,000).

In April, employment in retail trade declined by 2.1 million. Job losses occurred in clothing and clothing accessories stores (-740,000), motor vehicle and parts dealers (-345,000), miscellaneous store retailers (-264,000), and furniture and home furnishings stores (-209,000). By contrast, the component of general merchandise stores that includes warehouse clubs and supercenters gained 93,000 jobs. In April, manufacturing employment dropped by 1.3 million. About two-thirds of the decline was in durable goods manufacturing (-914,000), which saw losses in motor vehicles and parts (-382,000) and in fabricated metal products (-109,000). Nondurable goods manufacturing shed 416,000 jobs.

Employment in the other services industry declined by 1.3 million in April, with nearly two-thirds of the decline occurring in personal and laundry services (-797,000). Government employment dropped by 980,000 in April. Employment in local government was down by 801,000, in part reflecting school closures. Employment also declined in state government education (-176,000).

Construction employment fell by 975,000 in April, with much of the loss in specialty trade contractors (-691,000). Job losses also occurred in construction of buildings (-206,000).  Employment fell in transportation and warehousing in April (-584,000). Transit and ground passenger transportation and air transportation lost 185,000 jobs and 141,000 jobs, respectively.  Wholesale trade shed 363,000 jobs in April, largely reflecting losses in the durable and nondurable goods components. Employment in financial activities fell by 262,000 over the month, with the vast majority of the decline occurring in real estate and rental and leasing (-222,000). Employment in information fell by 254,000 in April, driven by a decline in motion picture and sound recording industries (-217,000). Mining lost 46,000 jobs in April, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining (-33,000).

In April, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by $1.34 to $30.01. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by $1.04 to $25.12 in April. The increases in average hourly earnings largely reflect the substantial job loss among lower-paid workers; this change, along with earnings increases, put upward pressure on the average hourly earnings estimates.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours in April. In manufacturing, the workweek declined by 2.1 hours to 38.3 hours, and overtime declined by 0.9 hour to 2.1 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 33.5 hours.

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

The next employment situation report for May 2020 is scheduled to be released on Friday, June 5, 2020. 


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BEA Releases 1st Qtr GDP-Advance Estimate (Apr. 2020)

04.29.2020

Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of 2020 (table 1), according to the  advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the fourth quarter of 2019, real GDP increased 2.1 percent. The decline in first quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued “stay-at-home” orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.

The decrease in real GDP in the first quarter reflected negative contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, exports, and private inventory investment that were partly offset by positive contributions from residential fixed investment, federal government spending, and state and local 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 motor vehicles and parts. The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment, led by transportation equipment. The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in services, led by travel.


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