By Valorie Rice
EBR Senior Business Information Specialist

S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Indices for February 2014 were released April 29. The one-year change in Phoenix home prices was 12.5 percent, just lower than the 12.9 percent of the 20-city composite. Las Vegas continues to be the metro with the highest year-over-year change at 23.1 percent. Prices were relatively unchanged from January to February with 13 of the 20 cities seeing declines in home prices, including Phoenix (-0.1 percent).

The advance estimate of first quarter 2014 GDP was released April 30. Real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the first quarter, with investment spending and exports dragging down growth. Real GDP had increased 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter 2013.  

Arizona initial unemployment claims turned down the third week of April after inching up the previous 5 weeks. Claims were 6,531 compared to 7,736 the week before. The four-week average continues to escalate, moving up to 6,418 from 5,946 the week before.  The number of people filing unemployment nationally rose again, for the third week in a row, with benefits moving to a seasonally adjusted 344,000 last week. The four-week average was up slightly at 320,000.

The April employment situation was released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, May 2. Total nonfarm employment was up 288,000 for the nation, the largest increase this year even when taking revisions under consideration.  February and March employment data were both revised upward with gains for the two months totaling 36,000 higher than previously reported. The US unemployment rate dropped to 6.3 percent for April, a change of 0.4 percent.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture was released May 2. There are 33,613 farmers in Arizona operating 20,005 farms on 26.2 million acres. The average size farm is 1,312 acres which is down from 1,670 acres in 2007. Coconino and Apache counties have the most farm acreage; however, Maricopa and Yuma counties have the highest value of agricultural products sold. The top five agricultural products in Arizona ranked by sales are: 1) vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; 2) milk from cows; 3) cattle and calves; 4) other crops and hay; and 5) nursery, greenhouse, floriculture, and sod. 

 Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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