By Valorie Rice, EBRC Senior Business Information Specialist
Housing data is typically released the last week of the month. S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for March were released May 27. Annual gains in home prices have slowed some. Phoenix year-over-year change for March was 11.1 percent. This is higher than the nation at 10.3 percent, but it was lower than the 10-city and 20-city composite indices which had changes of 12.6 percent and 12.4 percent, respectively. Las Vegas and San Francisco once again had the highest returns with approximately 21 percent. Prices rose 0.5 percent for Phoenix between February and March of this year.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency also released data on Tuesday. According to FHFA Home Price Index, U.S. house prices rose 1.3 percent the first quarter of 2014, which is the eleventh straight quarter of positive housing price gains. Arizona ranked 4th for annual price appreciation in the first quarter with 14.72 percent, with only Nevada (20.96 percent), the District of Columbia (19.78 percent) and California (15.78 percent) having higher changes in the purchase-only housing price index. Prices went up 6.62 percent in the U.S. as a whole during that time.
The second estimate for first quarter 2014 real gross domestic product was released Thursday, May 29. The decline in private inventor investment was larger than previously estimated, reflecting in a decrease of 1 percent for the first quarter GDP.
Initial unemployment claims in Arizona were up slightly for the third week of May, moving to 5,042 claims compared to 4,853 the week before. The four-week average inched down to 5,128 from 5,500 the week prior. Nationally, jobless claims dropped to a seasonally adjusted 300,000. The four-week average was down as well. At an unadjusted 311,500, the number was the lowest since August 2007.
The Census Bureau released 2012 County Business Patterns May 29. Arizona added 1,070 total establishments between 2011 and 2012, an increase of 0.8 percent. Nationally, businesses with payroll increased 1.1 percent. Along with releasing the 2012 data, they have made available retail establishment data on Census Explorer, the Census Bureau’s interactive map.