Economic News in Review Greenville SC
Here is last week’s Economic News in Review Greenville SC.
Unemployment notched down to 5.4 percent, while lay-offs continued to hover at a near 15-year low, and consumer borrowing outpaced market expectations.
The economy added 223,000 non-farm jobs in April, while the unemployment rate posted another decrease, tapering to 5.4 percent, according to last week’s news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed Americans totaled 8.5 million for the month.
That said, job market watchers were still waiting for a sizable increase in salaries. Average hourly earnings for all non-farm employees grew by just 3 cents in April to $24.87. Over the past 12 months, hourly earnings have increased by 2.2 percent on average.
“Wage growth is accelerating, but it’s quite gradual, more gradual than we would expect in a market where the unemployment rate is 5.4 percent,” Gregory Daco, U.S. macroeconomics head at Oxford Economics USA Inc., told Bloomberg.
The population of long-term unemployed Americans — people without jobs for 27 weeks or longer — saw little change at 2.5 million people, which accounted for 29 percent of total unemployment. The labor force participation rate — the percentage of the total population of employable Americans either working or looking for work — hovered at 62.8 percent (the rate has been fixed at between 62.7 and 62.9 for a year).
The number of Americans involuntarily employed on a part-time basis for economic reasons such as their hours being cut or that being the only work they could find saw little change at 6.6 million, but was down by 880,000 people from a year earlier.
Initial Jobless Claims
First time claims for unemployment insurance filed by the newly unemployed during the week ending May 2 totaled 265,000, an increase of 3,000 claims from the prior week’s 262,000 claims, the Employment and Training Administration reported last week. This was a slight increase from last week’s 15-year low, and still well below the 300,000, which indicates a healthy job market.
Moreover, the four-week moving average — considered a more stable and reliable measure of lay-off activity — did in fact hit a 15-year low. The average dropped to 279,500 claims, a decline of 4,250 claims from the preceding week’s average of 283,750 claims. This marked the lowest level for the four-week moving average since May 6, 2000 when it was 279,250.
“The trends in the claims data continue to send upbeat signals regarding conditions in the labor market,” J.P. Morgan economist Daniel Silver told the Wall Street Journal.
Consumer borrowing outpaced analyst expectations in March to enjoy its biggest growth spurt in eight months. Consumer credit grew 7.4 percent for the month to a total of $3.36 trillion, according to last week’s report from the Federal Reserve. March’s $20.5 billion increase over February outpaced market expectations of $16 billion.
Revolving debt, such as credit cards, turned around three consecutive months of declines to grow by 5.9 percent to a total of $889.4 billion, pointing to an increased willingness and confidence of consumers to purchase items on credit. Non-revolving debt, such as student or car loans grew by 7.9 percent, to hit $2.47 trillion.
March’s growth was the largest since April 2014 and signaled an end to a post-holiday season break in credit card use and auto purchases.
Economic News in Review Greenville SC
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