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Graphic Economics

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

Residential Construction and Equipment and Software Investment as Share of GDP Print

October 26, 2012

Investment was extraordinarily weak in the last quarter, shrinking at a 1.3 percent annual rate. Structure investment fell at a 4.4 percent rate, while investment in equipment and software was flat. The drop in structure investment was largely driven by a sharp falloff in construction of power facilities. It is likely that both categories of investment are being held back by uncertainty at the moment. With the outcome of the election in doubt, there are many tax and regulatory decisions that could affect the profitability of various investments.


For more, check out the latest GDP Byte.

Unemployment Rate for Select Sectors Print

October 5, 2012

Restaurants added 15,700 jobs in September, roughly their average over the last year. The retail sector added 9,400 in the month, while real estate added 7,100, another sign of renewed health in the housing market. On the negative side, temporary help employment fell 2,000 after being flat in August. Manufacturing employment fell by 16,000 in September after dropping by 22,000 the prior month. Autos were the largest contributor to the decline, but it was felt across sectors. However, it is worth noting that average weekly hours in manufacturing rose by 0.1 hours, as it did for the private sector as a whole.

The unemployment rate for workers in the two hardest hit sectors, construction and manufacturing, was 11.9 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively in September, meaning that the former contributed a trivial amount toward raising the overall unemployment rate, while the latter lowered it slightly.


For more, check out our latest Jobs Byte.

New Privately Owned Housing Units Started, Aug 1992 - Aug 2012 Print

September 25, 2012

Data on the housing market continue to be overwhelmingly positive. The 4.8 million pace for existing home sales reported for August is somewhat above trend. The inventory of unsold homes is just over six months' supply at the current sales rate. A continuing flow of distressed sales into the market is not likely to radically change the picture. While both sales rates and prices are pretty much back to their trend levels, construction remains far below trend; although, even here the picture is improving. The rate of 750,000 starts reported in August is 29.1 percent above the rate from a year ago. With the vacancy rate falling back sharply from its peaks in 2009 and 2010, starts are almost certain to continue to rise. Residential construction can be expected to provide a substantial boost to the economy through the rest of 2012 and through 2013. Starts are not likely to get back to the 2 million peaks of the bubble years, but we will likely get to at least a 1.3-1.4 million range by 2014.


For more, check out our latest Housing Market Monitor.

Growth in Food Services and Drinking Places Employment as a Share of Nonfarm Employment Growth Print

September 7, 2012

The restaurant sector continued to show robust job growth in August, adding 28,300 jobs. This unusually strong growth can be used to clear up some confusion in news accounts about the nature of the jobs being created in the recovery. A disproportionate share of new jobs have been in low-paying sectors. This should be expected. The quality of jobs is in part a function of the quantity. When the unemployment rate is low, there are still bad jobs being created, but they just go unfilled.


For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

Change in Bottom-Tier Home Prices in Selected Cities, Jan 2002 - June 2012 Print

August 28, 2012

The latest housing data found prices in Atlanta rose by 2.3 percent, 1.7 percent in Chicago, 1.5 percent in Phoenix, 1.2 percent in Minneapolis, and 1.1 percent in Las Vegas. In each of these cities, the price increase is being driven most strongly by the bottom third of the market. The price increases in this segment of the market have been extraordinary in recent months. In Las Vegas, the bottom tier of the market has risen at a 30.4 percent annual rate over the last three months. In Phoenix, prices in the bottom tier have increased at a 32.4 percent annual rate.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

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