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Economic News

  • Fri, January 07, 2022 3:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Job numbers in December remained fairly modest, down to only 199,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures. (This is slightly above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment increased to 5.0 percent in December, in keeping with seasonal weather trends and identical to the pre-Covid 2019 level. [The new figure is up 0.3 basis points vs. November ’21 level; while being down by 4.6 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 9.6% figure of last December 2020].  Construction employment rose by 22,000 in December, following monthly gains averaging 38,000 over the prior 3 months. In December, job gains occurred in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (+13,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+10,000). However, construction job numbers are still 88,000 below its February 2020 level.

    The overall unemployment figure continues to recede down (0.3) to 3.92 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 6.3 million per the government count).  “Labor force participation” improved going up 0.1 point to 61.9 percent. [BUT NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced an upward movement of only 0.1 to 59.3 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up to $26.61, confirming to some extent a possible stabilizing of hourly wages at a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

    SEE Workforce Statistics Chart.

  • Fri, December 03, 2021 3:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Job numbers nosedived in November to less than half the growth of the previous month, down to only 210,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures. (This is barely above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment moved-up to 4.7 percent in November, in keeping with seasonal weather trends seen in past years. [The new figure is up 0.7 basis points vs. October ’21 level; while being down by 2.6 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 7.3% figure of last November 2020]. Construction employment rose by 31,000 in November, following gains of a similar magnitude in the prior 2 months. In November, employment continued to trend up in specialty trade contractors (+13,000), construction of buildings (+10,000), and heavy and civil engineering construction (+8,000). Construction employment is 115,000 below its February 2020 level.

    The overall unemployment figure continues to recede down (0.4) to 4.2 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 6.9 million per the government count).  “Labor force participation” improved going up 0.2 points to 61.8 percent. [BUT NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced an upward movement of 0.4 to 59.2 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up to $26.40, confirming to some extent a possible stabilizing of hourly wages at a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

    SEE Workforce Statistics Chart.

  • Fri, October 08, 2021 1:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Job growth numbers were much lower than expected for September at only 194,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures (just slightly above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics). The belief was that more people would return to the market seeking jobs once federal payments were ended – but that didn’t materialize, at least not yet.  The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment remained steady at 4.5 percent in September, a level more akin to 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. [The new figure is down just 0.1 basis points vs. August ’21 level; while being down by 2.6 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 7.1% figure of last September 2020]. Construction employment rose by 22,000 in September but has shown little net change thus far this year. Employment in construction is still 201,000 below its February 2020 level.  

    The overall unemployment figure continues to recede down (0.4) to 4.8 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 7.7 million per the government count).  However, “labor force participation” remained little changed at 61.6 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced a slight upward movement of 0.2 to 58.7 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up smartly to $26.14, confirming to some extent a possible stabilizing at a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time.   SEE Workforce Statistics Chart

  • Fri, September 03, 2021 12:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The job numbers remain choppy as they again failed to meet expectations with August reporting only 235,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures (still above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  However, the non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment saw marked improvement falling to 4.6 percent in August, a level more akin to August 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. [That is down some 1.5 basis points vs. July ’21 level; while being down by 3.0 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 7.6% figure of last August 2020].  Construction employment overall was approximately 230,000 lower than in February 2020.

    The overall unemployment figure slipped down (0.2) to 5.2 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 8.4 million per the government count).  However, “labor force participation” remained at 61.7 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced a slight upward movement of 0.1 to 58.5 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up slightly to $25.99, confirming to some extent a possible trend to a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

    SEE the Workforce Statistics Chart

  • Fri, August 06, 2021 1:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Hopefully, the swell in job numbers is finally signaling the economy is open for business (if the Delta variant doesn’t derail the gains) with a July report of 943,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures (well above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  The non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment also saw marked improvement falling to 6.1 percent in July. [The percentage was down some 1.4% vs. June ’21 levels; while being down by 2.8 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 8.9% figure of last July 2020].  Construction employment changed every little from the June figures, leaving total jobs approximately 238,000 lower than in February 2020.

    The overall unemployment figure saw a half point (0.5) drop to 5.4 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also decreased to 8.7 million per the government count).  “Labor force participation” moved slightly up to 61.7 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” experienced a larger upward movement of 0.4 to 58.4 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees again moved-up slightly to $25.83, confirming to some extent a possible trend to a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time.

    SEE the Workforce Statistics Chart.

  • Thu, July 29, 2021 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Although U.S. economy is showing signs of continued growth or expansion, Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at only an annual rate of 6.5 percent in the second quarter of 2021, disappointing expectations. [According to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see, chart below)].  By way of comparison, the first quarter real GDP increased 6.3 percent (revised), reflecting lingering affects from still being hampered by shutdowns – which were largely removed during the second quarter of the year.

    The GDP estimate is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The "second" estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 26, 2021.


  • Wed, July 07, 2021 2:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jobs expansion began to see the effects of the economy opening back-up across the country in June with the report of 850,000 new positions according the latest Labor Department figures (well above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  However, non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment deteriorated to 7.5 percent in June “bucking” a recent monthly trend of improving figures. [The percentage was UP some 0.8% over May ’21 levels; while being down by 2.6 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 10.1% figure of last June 2020].  Overall, construction employment change in June was (-7,000). During-the-month job losses in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-15,000) and heavy and civil engineering construction (-11,000) were partially offset by a gain in residential specialty trade contractors (+13,000). Employment in construction remains 238,000 lower than in February 2020.

    The overall unemployment figure moved up one tick to 5.9 percent. (“Unemployed persons” also increased to 9.5 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” stayed the same at 61.6 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” also stayed the same at 58.0 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees moved-up slightly again to $25.68, signaling a possible trend to a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

    SEE Workforce Statistics chart.

  • Thu, July 01, 2021 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Despite the so-called “Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework” deal, it is clear extensive and consequential tax changes are in the works that will affect not only corporate/business rates but also the amount individuals will be paying if passed (including changes to the “death tax”). The “S-Corp” organization, which CIRT has worked in coalition with over the years, has developed an informative detailed description of the various aspects or proposals that are being considered by the President and his Democrat allies in Congress. For example, the paper has a table showing what a pared-down, $1.5 trillion package might look like.

    [For details see, S-Corp Washington Wire]


  • Fri, June 04, 2021 2:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jobs expansion picked-up in May to 559,000 new jobs according the latest Labor Department figures (comfortably above the 130-150,000 estimated increase needed on a monthly basis to stay-up with growing demographics).  Non-seasonally adjusted construction unemployment improved to 6.7 percent in May reflecting the expanding reach of the spring work season across the lower 48 states. [The percentage was down 1.0% from April ‘21, while also dropping-off 6.0 points from the pandemic/shutdown induced 12.7% figure last May 2020].  However in total numbers, construction employment edged down in May (-20,000), reflecting a job loss in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-17,000). Employment in construction is still 225,000 lower than its February 2020 level.

    The overall unemployment figure slide to 5.8 percent i.e., 0.3 percent lower.  (“Unemployed persons” also dipped to 9.3 million per the government count). The “labor force participation” deteriorated a tick to 61.6 percent. [NOTE: The “labor force participation” rate “typically” works inversely to the overall unemployment figures. Meaning: as it deteriorates/gets worse or smaller, it actually is counted as improving unemployment (i.e., people leaving the workforce are no longer viewed/counted as unemployed by the DOL). The “employment to population ratio” however improved slightly to 58.0 percent.  Average hourly earnings for employees moved-up slightly again to $25.60, signaling a possible trend to a higher norm in the post pandemic era, potentially due to a shortage of willing workers at this time. 

    Workforce Statistics Chart

  • Tue, May 11, 2021 11:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 0.8 percent in April ‘21 on a seasonally adjusted basis after rising 0.6 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.2 percent before seasonal adjustment. This is the largest 12-month increase since a 4.9-percent increase for the period ending September 2008 (nearly 13-years ago).  Both an earlier AGC and CIRT’s own Sentiment Index reports show “inputs” (materials and labor) also seeing a rapid rise beginning in this year, with a yearly projection from these number to be in the 12 plus percent range for 2021, if the pace keeps up.

    The inflationary increases in the index were led by used cars and trucks, which rose 10.0 percent in April. This was the largest 1-month increase since the series began in 1953, and it accounted for over a third of the seasonally adjusted all items increase. The food index increased in April, rising 0.4 percent as the indexes for food at home and food away from home both increased. The energy index decreased slightly, as a decline in the index for gasoline in April more than offset increases in the indexes for electricity and natural gas. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.9 percent in April, its largest monthly increase since April 1982.

    Nearly all major component indexes increased in April. Along with the index for used cars and trucks, the indexes for shelter, airline fares, recreation, motor vehicle insurance, and household furnishings and operations were among the indexes with a large impact on the overall increase. The all items index rose 4.2 percent for the 12 months ending April, a larger increase than the 2.6- percent increase for the period ending March. Similarly, the index for all items less food and energy rose 3.0 percent over the last 12 months, a larger increase than the 1.6-percent rise over the 12 month period ending in March. The energy index rose 25.1 percent over the last 12-months, and the food index increased 2.4 percent.


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