Two economists from the Detroit branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago will lead an economic forecast discussion on Thursday, January 22, in Flint, Michigan, according to an announcement from Baker College of Flint Center for Business.
Senior economist Paul Traub and business economist Martin Lavelle, both of the Detroit branch of Chicago's Fed Bank, will lead the discussion, which will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Baker College in Flint on Thursday. Expected discussion topics will be slow wage growth and employment at both the state and national levels. Attendance for the event is free.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month that the nation's unemployment rate had fallen to 5.6 percent, its lowest level in six and a half years. According to BLS, Michigan's unemployment rate as of November 2014 was 6.7 percent, a full percentage point higher than the national average, but the rate in Michigan did experience a decline of 0.4 percentage points from October to November and by 1.8 percentage points from November 2013 to November 2o14.
In November 2014, according to BLS, Michigan gained 39,300 jobs from the previous November and 11,100 jobs from October 2014. According to the latest national data from BLS, job gains totaled 252,000 nationwide in December as the number of unemployed persons declined by 383,000.
While the unemployment rate has been on the way down, wages to not appear to be on the way up. In a report released on January 16, the Bureau said that real hourly wages expanded nationwide by just 0.1 percent from November to December in 2014 and by 1.0 percent from December 2013 to December 2014.
A mid-January consumer confidence reading by University of Michigan/Thomson Reuters showed that confidence was at its highest level in more than a decade, brought on by improved economic conditions – in particular, lower gas prices.