By Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

 Bankruptcy filings in Arizona were down 20% over the year for November. Looking at year-to-date data, the state is down 14% from last year, with all counties except for Yuma and La Paz having lower numbers of bankruptcy filings. Yuma has a 6% increase in comparing year-to-date figures to 2013, while La Paz has no change from the previous year.

The 2009-2013 American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year estimates were released December 4th, allowing a look at all geographies regardless of size (3-yr estimates are only available for areas 20,000 or more and 1-yr for those 65,000 or more). This is the first year that bachelors field of degree is available with the 5-year estimate, as it was added to the ACS in 2009.

Arizona initial jobless claims were higher for the second week of November, moving to 4,427 from 3,947 the week prior. The four-week average was also slightly higher at 4,224. Nationally, applications for unemployment fell to a seasonally adjusted 297,000. The four-week average was 299,000. The fact that initial claims have been under 300,000 for most of the last three months led economists to believe that the November jobs report would be a good one.

The U.S. added 321,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in November, according to the employment situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday, December 5. Gains in employment were widespread through all sectors, with professional and business services and retail trade having the highest increases in employment. The unemployment rate, 5.8%, and the participation rate, 62.8%, were both unchanged from the previous month.

This Week – November 28, 2014

Two major home price indices, Case-Shiller and FHFA, were released on Tuesday, November 25th.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices for September 2014 indicated that home prices continue to decelerate in the nation and the 20 composite cities, with over-the-month changes dipping into negative 0.1% for the U.S. and no change for the cities. Phoenix was also -0.1% between August and September and had only a 3% 12-month change. This was lower than the U.S., at a 4.8% 12-month home price change for September.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency released the third quarter 2014 FHFA House Price Index (HPI) on November 25. The one-year change in home price appreciation for Arizona, according to the seasonally adjusted purchase-only HPI, was 6.57%, with the U.S. at 4.55%. This placed Arizona 10th among all states in the 3rd quarter, a definite change from the last several quarters in which Arizona was among the top five states in annual price appreciation. Annual price changes for Arizona metros, using the all-transactions HPI, which includes both purchases and refinance mortgages: Flagstaff (6.89%), Lake Havasu City-Kingman (6.84%), Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale (9.56%), Prescott (9.58%), Sierra Vista-Douglas (-3.81%), Tucson (6.29%), and Yuma (4.73%).

Real GDP was revised up to an annual rate of 3.9% in the third quarter, compared to 3.5% in the advanced estimate. This was due to better performances in inventory investment, personal consumption expenditures and nonresidential fixed investment.

The optimism shown by consumers in October diminished in November, as the Conference Board reported on November 25th that the Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 88.7, down from 94.1 in October.

Initial unemployment claims dropped in Arizona the first full week of November, down 547 to 3,947. The four-week average was also lower at 4,192. Nationally, initial claims for unemployment benefits were up in the third week of November, moving to a seasonally adjusted 313,000. The four-week average was up slightly as well at 294,000.

Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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