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Graphic Economics

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

Inflation-adjusted Owners' Equivalent Rent, Jan 2007 - Feb 2012 Print
March 27, 2012

There have been some reports that rents have been rising in many areas, ostensibly due to the fact that people who have lost their homes are now being forced to find rental housing that is in short supply. This really does not make sense as a national phenomenon. Rental vacancy rates continue to be at near-record levels, exceeded only by the peaks reached in 2009 and 2010 near the trough of the recession.

There also is zero evidence of upward pressure on rents in the CPI series. The owners’ equivalent rent series, which pulls out the impact of utilities and exclusively measures rent of shelter, is below its pre-recession level after adjusting for inflation. If anything, it has trended slightly downward over the last two years. This index includes all housing units, not just those on the market, so it will have more inertia than an index that just measured market rents, but it is difficult to imagine that market rents could have risen too rapidly if the CPI series is showing a real decline.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

Cumulative Percentage Point Change in Employment and Unemployment Rates From June 2009 to Feb 2012 Print
March 9, 2012

The Labor Department reported that employers added 227,000 jobs in February. With upward revisions to the prior two months’ data, average job growth over the last three months is now reported as 244,000. Employment growth continues to be concentrated among older workers, with people over age 55 accounting for 277,000 of the 428,000 growth in employment reported in February in the household survey. By education level, college grads were the big winners with their EPOP jumping by 0.7 percentage points, although most of this was reversing an erratic drop of 0.5 percentage points reported in January. The EPOP for high school grads fell by 0.5 percentage points to 54.1 percent, a new low for the downturn. Most likely this is also an anomaly.


For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

Brazil: Real Quarterly GDP Growth, Contributions by Sector Print
March 6, 2012

In the fourth quarter, Brazil's GDP grew by just 1.4 percent on an annualized basis.  Mineral extraction and finance led growth among sectors, with annualized growth rates of 7.3 and 5.9 percent, respectively. Manufacturing was nearly flat over the year, but fell at a 9.5 percent annualized rate in the most recent quarter.


For more, check out the latest Latin America Data Byte.

Rental Vacancy Rate, 1991-2011 Print
February 28, 2012

One factor that will continue to depress both construction and house prices is the still near-record vacancy rates. The current vacancy rate is down by more than a percentage point from its peak in 2010, but it is still far higher than any vacancy rate recorded in the years preceding the housing bubble.

This huge number of empty units will not be absorbed quickly, even if the economy were to create jobs at a pace more typical for a recovery from a severe recession (300k-400k a month). While most of the vacancies are for rental units, it is important to remember that rental units can easily become ownership units (almost one-third of rental units are single family houses) if sales prices started to rise relative to rents.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

Monthly Change in Jobs Since End of Recession Print
February 3, 2012

The establishment survey showed a gain of 243,000 jobs with the private sector adding 257,000. With upward revisions to job growth for the prior two months, job growth has now averaged 201,000 over the last three months. Ignoring Census hiring, this is the strongest three-month stretch since February to April of last year when job growth averaged 239,000 a month.


For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

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