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Graphic Economics

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

Residential Construction as Share of GDP Print

November 27, 2012

The rise in housing starts has been impressive, with starts running close to 40 percent above year-ago levels. Of course this increase is against an extremely low level, with starts having fallen to less than 30 percent of their bubble peaks in 2009 and 2010. The Midwest also looks comparatively good in this category with starts near half of their 2005 peaks, whereas starts in the other regions are closer to 40 percent of the 2005 peaks.

The best indicator of the future path for starts is the vacancy rate. This has fallen substantially from 2010 peaks, even though it is still much above the pre-bubble level. Housing has contributed an average of 0.3 percentage points to GDP growth over the last year. This contribution is likely to continue and possibly increase slightly in 2013.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

Unemployment Rates by Education, 2007-2012 Print

November 2, 2012

By educational attainment, college grads saw a drop in their unemployment rate last month, from 4.1 percent to 3.8 percent. However, this was accompanied by a fall in their employment-to-population ratio from 72.8 to 72.5 percent. The unemployment rate for college grads is still nearly twice its pre-recession level.


For more, check out the latest Jobs Byte.

Year-round Vacancy Rate, 1965-2012 Print

November 1, 2012

The Census Bureau reported that the vacancy rate continued to edge lower in the third quarter; although most measures are still well above pre-bubble levels. The overall year-round vacancy rate fell to 10.2 percent in the third quarter. This is down from 10.8 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and a peak of more than 11.0 percent in the trough of the recession.


For more, check out the latest Housing Market Monitor.

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.

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