By Valorie Rice, EBRC Senior Business Information Specialist

September 5, 2014

The July trade deficit was the lowest since January, according to a September 4th U.S. Department of Commerce release. Total exports of goods and services were $198 billion in July and imports were $238.6 billion. This resulted in a $40.5 billion deficit, which was down from the revised June number of $40.8 billion.

Arizona initial unemployment claims numbered 4,296 for the third week of August. The four-week average was lower for the fifth straight week, at 4,552 compared to 4,726 the week before.  Jobless claims on the national level rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. The four-week average for the last week of August was 299,750. 

The August employment situation was released Friday, September 5th. Total nonfarm employment for the nation grew by 142,000 in August. Job growth had been above 200,000 for the prior six months.  The unemployment rate changed little at 6.1%. The professional and business services sector had the highest number of job gains in August, followed by health care.

August 29, 2014 

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) reported on August 26th that Arizona annual home prices rose 8.4% between the second quarter 2013 and the second quarter 2014. Only Nevada (14.8%), California (11.4%), the District of Columbia (10.7%), and North Dakota (8.7%) had higher annual house price appreciation. The same report provided percent change in home prices for metropolitan areas based on the all-transactions index, which includes purchases and refinance mortgages. The one-year price appreciation for Arizona metros: Flagstaff (8.2%), Lake Havasu City-Kingman (7.7%), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (13.2%), Prescott (11.4%), Sierra Vista (-5.0%), Tucson (5.1%), and Yuma (4.0%).

The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for June were also released on August 26th. The one-year home price change for the U.S. was 6.2% while both the 10-city and 20-city composites had 8.1% increase in prices. All metropolitan areas within the index had lower over-the-year gains compared to the May index. Phoenix home prices rose 6.9% according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index.

Consumer confidence increased in August, which was the fourth straight month of improving confidence, according to the Conference Board in their August 26 release. The Index measured 92.4 in August and 90.3 in July.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the second estimate for the second quarter 2014 real gross domestic product (GDP) on August 28. GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.2% in the second quarter, revised up from 4.0% in the advance estimate released in July.

There were 4,381 initial unemployment claims in Arizona for the second week of August, down 406 from the week before. The four-week average was lower for the fourth straight week, at 4,726 compared to 4,980 the week prior.  Jobless claims were also lower nationally, at a seasonally adjusted 298,000. The four-week average for the third week of August dropped to 299,750. 


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