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Tag Archives: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Payrolls Up 165k in April; Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.5%

The economy added 165,000 jobs in April--rebounding from a weak report for March--and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.5.percent, its lowest level since December 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had forecast payrolls would grow by 153,000, and that the unemployment rate would remain at 7.6 percent. Payroll growth for March, originally reported at 88,000, was revised upward to 138,000, and February was revised to 332,000 from 268,000.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Drop to 5-Year Low

First-time claims for unemployment insurance for the week ending April 27 dropped 18,000 to 324,000, the lowest level in more than five years, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to increase to 354,000 initial claims. Initial jobless claims for the week ending April 20 were revised up to 344,000 from the originally reported 342,000.

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Slow Wage Growth Holds Down March Personal Income

Restrained by slow wage growth, personal income rose a disappointing $30.9 billion (0.2 percent) in March--half of what economists expected--as spending rose $21.0 billion or 0.2 percent, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, reported Monday. Personal income had improved $15.2 billion in February, largely on the strength of an $80 billion increase in dividend payments. Dividend payments in March increased by $4.5 billion over February.

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Q1 GDP Shows Sharp Gain Over Previous Quarter

The nation's economy rose at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.5 percent in the first quarter, slightly slower than economists had expected but more than six times the growth rate in the fourth quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at a 3.1 percent pace. Residential fixed investment added $11.8 billion to GDP, down from the $15.3 billion contribution in the fourth quarter, and spending on non-residential structures actually subtracted from GDP, albeit a scant $200 million.

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First-Time Unemployment Claims Tick Up

First-time claims for unemployment insurance increased for the fourth time in the last five weeks, edging up 4,000 for the week ending April 13 to 352,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected 347,000 initial claims. Initial jobless claims for the week ending April 6 were revised up to 348,000 from the originally reported 346,000.

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Weak Prices Drop Builder Confidence for 3rd Straight Month

With the price of a new home barely above year-ago levels, builder confidence fell for the third straight month in April, dropping two points to 42, the lowest level since October, the National Association of Home Builders reported. Economists had expected the Housing Market Index (HMI), the measure of confidence, to improve to 45 from March's reading of 44. It was the second straight month the index fell when economists had expected it to improve.

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Commentary: Defining Compromise

A compromise, certainly in politics, is usually a result which both sides in a dispute find equally unsatisfactory. It usually comes after some protracted negotiations from extreme positions. In the budget unveiled this week, President Obama, as he has in so many policy initiatives, attempted to reshape the political lexicon and landscape by beginning a compromise, not from an extreme, but from the middle. There is a lot for both sides to dislike in the Obama budget plan and there will be more as the document is scoured by both sides. The devil is always in the details.

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First-Time Jobless Claims Post Sharp Correction

After spiking one week ago, first-time claims for unemployment insurance fell sharply to 346,000 for the week ending April 6, a drop of 42,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Economists expected claims to fall to 365,000. Initial jobless claims for the week ending March 30 were revised up to 388,000 from the originally reported 385,000, increasing an unexpected 31,000 from one week earlier.

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February Job Openings Near 5-Year High

Job openings in February rose to 3,925,000, the highest level since May 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Tuesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The number of persons unemployed for each job opening fell to 3.07, the lowest level since October 2008.

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Commentary: It Happens Every Month

The March employment situation report was another in a series of labor reports that had analysts scratching their heads--on the left or right side--depending on their politics. Just as there is no Democratic or Republican way to collect garbage (okay, there might be depending on how much government you want), there should be no Democratic or Republican economic data. The numbers are what they are, not what your political lens tells you they are. That said, when data such as the March report are released--weak job growth, yet a drop in the unemployment rate--conspiracy theorists emerge from the woodwork.

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