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    State unemployment rates were “little changed” but Personal consumption expenditures rise

    The Oregon unemployment rate still sits at the 14th highest rate in the United States.  However, there has been significant improvement since the maximum high rate during 2007.  February unemployment rates did not change much but if we continue to see improvement in the unemployment numbers expect to see a continual growth in spending as we saw in February.  This is a positive sign for our housing market.  

    Unemployment RatesRegional and state unemployment rates were generally little changed in February. Twenty-nine states had unemployment rate decreases from January, 10 states had increases, and 11 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

    Rhode Island continued to have the highest unemployment rate among the states in February, 9.0 percent. North Dakota again had the lowest jobless rate, 2.6 percent.

    This graph shows the current unemployment rate for each state (red), and the max during the recession (blue). All states are well below the maximum unemployment rate for the recession.

    The size of the blue bar indicates the amount of improvement – Michigan, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida have seen the largest declines and many other states have seen significant declines.

    The states are ranked by the highest current unemployment rate. No state has double digit unemployment and the unemployment rate is at 9% in only one state: Rhode Island.  Illinois is at 8.7%, Nevada at 8.5%, and California at 8.0%.

    Personal Consumption Expenditures

    Personal income increased $47.7 billion, or 0.3 percent … in February, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) increased $30.8 billion, or 0.3 percent.

    Real PCE — PCE adjusted to remove price changes — increased 0.2 percent in February, compared with an increase of 0.1 percent in January. … The price index for PCE increased 0.1 percent in February, the same increase as in January. The PCE price index, excluding food and energy, increased 0.1 percent in February, the same increase as in January.

    The  graph shows real Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) through February 2014 (2009 dollars). Note that the y-axis doesn’t start at zero to better show the change.

    The dashed red lines are the quarterly levels for real PCE.

    Using the two-month method to estimate Q1 PCE growth (first two months of the quarter), PCE was increasing at a 1.3% annual rate in Q1 2014 (using mid-month method, PCE was increasing less than 1.0%).   This suggests weak PCE growth in Q1, but I expect PCE to increase faster in March.

     

     

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