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Graphic Economics

A collection of graphic representations of data by CEPR researchers on important economic issues.



Single Family Housing Permits and Units Started, 2000-2013 Print

February 26, 2013

Construction is continuing its upward path, despite the sharp drop in starts reported in January. This decline was clearly a function of weather factors that led to a big jump in starts in December. In the Northeast starts were down 35.3 percent from their December level, but were still above November starts. Starts in the Midwest were down by 50.0 percent, but the vast majority of the decline was due to a plunge in multi-family units. Single-family units were down by just 9.7 percent. Starts in the South and West actually rose in January, as did permits.

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For more, read the latest Housing Market Monitor.

 
Change in Construction Employment, 2000-2012 Print

February 1, 2013

Construction has added an average of 27,000 jobs a months since October. This rise is also in part attributable to unusually warm weather as well as repairs after Hurricane Sandy. However it may also be partly attributable to the bounce back in housing construction.

It is worth noting the divergence in construction employment as measured in the household survey and jobs as measured in the establishment survey. The former rose considerably more during the boom in the last decade and fell somewhat more in the downturn. This likely reflects undocumented workers in the industry who are likely working off the books.

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For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

 
Year-Over-Year Percent Change in Personal Consumption of Health Care, 1980-2012 Print

January 31, 2013

One especially noteworthy item in the recent Bureau of Economic Analysis' report on the Gross Domestic Product is the continuing slow pace in the growth of spending on health care services, which accounts for almost three quarters of all health care spending. Nominal spending grew at a just a 2.3 percent annual rate in the quarter. Over the last year, nominal spending is up by just 3.7 percent, far less than the rate of growth of GDP, and well below the projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It seems increasingly likely that we are on a slower health care cost trajectory. The deficit picture will look very different when CBO incorporates this slower growth trend into its projections.

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For more, check out the latest GDP Byte.

 
Year-Round Vacancy Rate, 1965-2012 Print

January 29, 2013

The overall housing vacancy rate dropped to 10.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. The rental vacancy rate was 8.7 percent, down by 0.7 percentage points from its year-ago level, while the rate for ownership units was 1.9 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from last year. It is also important to note that units can switch back and forth between rental and ownership. Thirty percent of the rental units are single family houses.

hmm-2013-01-ge

For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

 
Workers Earning More and Less than the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap Print

January 25, 2013

On January 1, the maximum amount of annual earnings subject to the Social Security tax – a.k.a. the payroll tax cap – was adjusted for inflation and increased to $113,700.  Income above the cap is not taxed by Social Security.  To help alleviate Social Security’s long-term budget shortfall, raising – or even eliminating – the cap has gotten some attention from policy makers. Just 1 in 20 workers would be affected if the cap were eliminated entirely, and only 1 in 75 would be affected if the cap were applied to earnings over $250,000.

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For more, check out the report, "Raising the Social Security Payroll Tax Cap: How Many Workers Would Pay More?"

 
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