Archive for May, 2012

Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index Falls for Eighth Month

May 29, 2012

The Case-Shiller home price indices, released today, reported a drop of .13 in the 10-city to 146.61 and a drop of .04 in the 20-city bringing it to 134.10. The 10-city is down 2.8% over March 2011 while the 20-city is down 2.6%. Most cities held steady or increased slightly. However, Atlanta (-.24), Chicago(-2.65), Boston(-.31), Detroit(-3.09), Minneapolis(-1.01), New York(-1.36), and Portland(-.59) declined. Detroit lost the most in March with it’s decline at 4.4% to a record-low 66.66.

For more information, see our Home Price Report.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

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Is the Era of Ever-Expanding Homes Ending?

May 24, 2012

After a continuous upward trajectory for more than fifty years, Americans are reporting declining ideal house sizes. In the 1950’s, the reported ideal home size was 983 sq ft. The ideal grew to an immense 2300 sq foot during the first decade of the 2000’s, but has since declined to around 2100 sq ft. For more information, read the full article at The Atlantic Cities.

–from The Atlantic Cities

Gas Retail Deliveries by Refiners Increased 4% in February

May 21, 2012

After a precipitous decline beginning in October 2011 and continuing through January, February 2012 gas retail deliveries are up 4% to 29.5 million gallons per day. This is 27.8% less than February 2011 and 33.2% less than February 2010. With a decline that severe, an increase, even of a comparatively small percentage, is good news.

–From the US Department of Energy

Manufacturing Capacity Utilization Increased .4% in April

May 17, 2012

Manufacturing capacity utilization increased .4% in April to 78.4%. It has been above 78% since January. It is up 3.6% since April 2011 and 8.1% since April 2010.

–From the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Providing Context for Data

May 15, 2012

Data360 was recently featured as part of PlaceMatters’ participatory design blog series. The series explores different tools employed in civic engagement, and our post focuses on understanding employment data. If you are interested in learning more about unemployment on a national, state, and local level, then please click through the link below.

Providing Context for Data

US Trade Balance Report for March Released

May 11, 2012

The US trade balance report, released today, shows the imports and export values from a variety of countries. For the past few months our trade balance with China has been shifting, so this month’s numbers will shine much greater light on recent trends.

For more information, see our Trade Balance Report.

Coal’s Darkest Hour

May 9, 2012

Over the past few years, the rapid expansion of natural gas extraction, mostly via new fracking technologies, has driven the cost of coal down 45% in the past year alone. Although emerging economies across the globe have seen rising coal demand, it is theorized by The Atlantic that, at these sale prices, coal may not be profitable to mine in the future. Click through the image for more details about the future of coal and natural gas.

–From The Atlantic

US Economy Added 172,000 New Job Openings in March

May 8, 2012

There were 172,000 additional job openings, an increase of 4.8% to a total of 3.7 million, posted in March according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. Hires in March declined 2% to 4.3 million, while separations increased 29,000. Job openings increased in all sectors except information and government. Information and federal government openings held steady at 88,000 and 67,000, respectively. State and local government openings fell 20,000, or 5.9%, to 318,000.

For additional graphs, data, and context, see our Job Openings and Labor Turnover Report.

Unemployment Drops to 8.1% in April

May 4, 2012

The unemployment rate dropped .1% to 8.1% in April. Although this appears to be good news, it seems many of these people dropped out of the measured labor force. There were 115,000 new jobs added to the economy in April, but that is not enough to account for a .1% drop. The employment-population ratio dropped .1% to 58.4% while the labor force participation rate dropped .2% to 63.6%. Of particular concern is the number of people unemployed for six months or longer which dropped 207,000 this month. Since far more people went off unemployment than got jobs and the participation rate dropped, many of these long-term unemployed have now simply dropped out of the economy.

For more information see our Employment Report.

–From the BLS and the St. Louis Federal Reserve

Unemployment Claims Down 27,000 Last Week

May 4, 2012

Initial unemployment claims fell 27,000 the last week of April after having increased the four previous weeks. Initial claims are an incredible 10.8% lower than this week last year.

-From the BLS