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Graphic Economics

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



Reversal in Investment and Exports Slow GDP Growth in First Quarter Print

April 30, 2014

Residential construction fell at a 5.7 percent annual rate, subtracting 0.18 from growth in the quarter. Weather likely played a big role in this, as many starts were put off in the Midwest and Northeast. While construction will be contributing to growth in future quarters there will not be a big rebound. While it had averaged close to 4.5 percent of GDP in pre-bubble years (compared to around 3.0 percent now), its longer-term level is likely to be closer to 4.0 percent of GDP. This is partly due to demographics and partly due to growing cost of health care.

gdp-2014-04-ge

For more, see the latest GDP Byte.

 
Economy Adds 192,000 Jobs in March, Unemployment Rate Unchanged Print

The ACA appears to be allowing workers to opt for part-time jobs and older workers to retire early.

The economy added 192,000 jobs in March, bringing the average over the last three months to 178,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) edged up to 58.9 percent. This is the highest of the recovery, but still four full percentage points below its pre-recession level.

This report answered several questions that had come up based on the prior two reports. First, it appears the weakness in prior months was in fact largely the result of the weather. The three month average of 178,000 is probably close to the economy's underlying trend at this point. It was also encouraging to see a jump of 0.2 hours in the length of the average workweek to 34.5 hours. This completely wipes out the decline in average hours worked that many were attributing to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other measures.

Unincorporated Self-employed Workers as Percent of Employed, 2007 - 2014

For more, read the latest Jobs Byte.

 
Changes in Employment in Select Sectors, 2006-2014 Print

Manufacturing employment has slowed to a crawl. The sector added 6,000 jobs, with downward revisions bringing the three month average to just 6,300. There were downward revisions to retail with a loss of 4,100 jobs following a loss of 22,600 in January. In addition to the weather, this likely reflects changed seasonal hiring patterns.

Health care employment remains on a slower track, with the sector adding 9,500 jobs in February bringing the three month average to 5,900. The government sector added 13,000 jobs, with gains at the state and local level offsetting the loss of 6,800 jobs. Non-postal federal employment is now down by 72,900 (3.5 percent) over the last year.

The motion picture industry lost 14,100 jobs in February. Employment is down by 56,600 (15.5 percent) over the year, hitting its lowest level since June of 1995. Construction continued its upswing in spite of the weather adding 15,000 jobs. Unemployment in the sector is actually below pre-boom levels, with the unemployment rate averaging 12.6 percent in January and February compared with 14.0 percent for the same months in 2003.

jobs-2014-03-ge

For more, read the latest Jobs Byte.

 
Weak Job Growth, but Declining Unemployment Give Mixed Picture in January Print

The index of aggregate weekly hours is still down by 0.1 percent from November.

The establishment survey showed the economy created just 113,000 jobs in January. Coupled with the 75,000 increase reported for December, this is the weakest two-month stretch since December, 2010-January 2011. However, the picture in the household survey was much better, with the employment-to-population (EPOP) ratio rising by 0.2 percentage points from 58.6 percent to 58.8 percent. This matches the previous high for the recovery in October of 2012. The unemployment rate edged down to 6.6 percent.

White workers disproportionately benefited from gains in employment with the EPOPs for both white men and white women rising by 0.4 percentage points. By age, the biggest gainers were younger workers. Employment for workers between the ages of 25-34 rose by 230,000, while employment for workers between the ages of 35-44 rose by 318,000, a one month increase of more than 1.0 percent.

Jobs-2014-02-ge

For more, read the latest Jobs Byte.

 
Fourth Quarter GDP Driven By Consumption, Health Care Spending Continues to Slow Print

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.

 
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