By Valorie Rice, EBRC Senior Business Information Specialist
August 22, 2014

The share of homes affordable for families earning the U.S. median income was lower in second quarter according to the  National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index August data release. Nationally, 62.6% of new and existing homes sold in the second quarter were considered affordable compared to 65.5% in the first quarter of the year. Of the six Arizona metropolitan areas listed in the report, only Flagstaff (55.7) was less affordable than the U.S. overall.  Here, in order, are the other five Arizona metros ranked by the share of homes affordable for the median income of their areas:  Yuma (77.5), Tucson (76.9), Lake Havasu City-Kingman (75.4), Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale (66.4), and Prescott (66.2).

Consumer prices rose 0.1% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis according to the August 19th Bureau of Labor Statistics release. This was the smallest month-over-month change since February. Food and shelter prices rose, but were offset by decreases in overall energy prices, which had been on the rise for the last few months.  The annual inflation rate was 2.0% in July before seasonal adjustment.  The 12-month percent change has been in the 2.0%-2.1% range since April.

On August 20th, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released new prototype statistics on quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) by state. The usual annual GDP data for states was released back in June; however, these data provide quarterly GDP by state from 2005 to 2013 at seasonally adjusted annual rates. Arizona real GDP rose by 1.1% overall in 2013, but we can now see that second quarter 2013 experienced the strongest growth for the year with the state’s output growing at an annualized rate of 4.7%. Arizona’s fourth quarter annualized GDP growth rate of 3.2% ranked it 16th among all states. At 8.4%, North Dakota and Wyoming had the fastest GDP growth in fourth quarter 2013.

The number of initial unemployment claims for Arizona was relatively stable for the beginning of August, moving up only 43 to 4,787 the week of August 9. The four-week average for the state was 4,980, a drop of 720 from the week prior. Nationally, jobless claims were down for the week of August 16, dropping 14,000 to 298,000. The national four-week average was a bit higher at 300,750 but still close to pre-recession levels.

Arizona nonfarm employment increased 2.4% over-the-year in July compared to 1.9% for the U.S. Of the 59,400 jobs added in the last 12 months, 56,400 were in the private sector, headed by the education and health services sector, and 3,000 were in government. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.0% for the month, nearly a full percent higher than the U.S. (6.2%).  

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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