January 30, 2014

Inventories grew at the fastest pace ever in the fourth quarter.

The economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter following a 4.1 percent rise in the third quarter. This is the best two quarter performance since the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012 when the economy grew at 4.9 percent and 3.7 percent annual rates, respectively. Consumption grew at a 3.3 percent rate, accounting for 70.6 percent of the growth in the quarter. Investment continued the weakness it has shown over the last two years, growing at just a 3.8 percent annual rate. Somewhat surprisingly, housing fell at a 9.8 percent annual rate, its first decline since the third quarter of 2010.

GDP-2014-01-GE

For more, see the latest GDP Byte.

January 28, 2014

Though house prices in the bottom tier of some markets continued to rise, the overall housing market shows signds of stabilaization.

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Read more in this month's Housing Market Monitor

January 10, 2014

The headline unemployment rate fell sharply to 6.7 percent in December. The drop of 0.3 percentage points was almost entirely due to people leaving the labor force as the number of people reported employed in December only rose by 143,000. This was just enough to keep the employment-to-population ratio constant. The establishment survey was also surprisingly weak, showing a gain of just 74,000 jobs. In addition, the length of the average workweek fell by 0.1 hour leading to a decline of 0.3 percent in the index of weekly hours for the month.

jobs-2014-01-ge

For more, read the latest Jobs Byte.

The Labor Department reported the economy added 203,000 jobs in November after adding a revised 200,000 in October, the first time the economy has seen consecutive months of 200,000 plus job growth since November and December of last year. The strong job growth led to a drop of 0.3 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 7.0 percent. This drop was due to increased employment as the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP)rose by 0.3 percentage points to 58.6 percent, reversing a fall of the same amount reported for October.

real Wages for Production and Non-Supervisory Workers, Select Sectors, 2000-2013

For more, read the latest Jobs Byte.

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