by Valorie Hanni Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information

The U.S. Producer Price Index decreased 0.4% in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics November 13 release. Both final demand goods (-0.4%) and final demand services (-0.3%) were down over the month. The 12-month change in total final demand was -1.6%, making this the ninth month in a row with annual decreases in producer prices.

Housing affordability dropped a bit in the third quarter, according to the National Association of Home Builders/ Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index released November 12.  Nationally, 62.2% of new and existing homes were affordable to those earning the median income, down from 63.2% in the second quarter. All of the metropolitan areas reported for Arizona in the third quarter had higher affordability than the U.S. The share of homes affordable for a median income in that area was 77.0 in Yuma, 74.2 in Tucson, 73.6 in Lake Havasu City-Kingman, 70.9 in Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, and 66.8 in Prescott.  Flagstaff data, which are typically lower than the nation, were not available in the third quarter report.

The U.S. employment situation released November 6th, reported an increase of 271,000 nonfarm jobs in October, a vast change over the 137,000 jobs added in September. Sectors reporting the largest gains in employment were professional & business services, health care, retail trade, food services & drinking places, as well as construction. The U.S. unemployment rate was 5.0%, basically unchanged from the 5.1% reported in the two months prior.

Bankruptcies in Arizona continue to trend down. The 1,426 bankruptcies filed in October were 5.2% lower than the same month a year ago. Year-to-date filings are down 14.9% for the state with the Yuma office having the largest year-to-date decrease at 18.3%. The Yuma office encompasses La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties. 

There were 3,867 initial unemployment claims in Arizona for the week ending October 24, up 114 from the week prior. The four-week moving average rose by about same amount, moving to 4,032. Nationally, filings for unemployment benefits rose 16,000 to a seasonally adjusted 276,000 for the week ending October 31, the largest increase in eight months. The four-week average was also higher at 262,750.   

The U.S. trade deficit lowered to $40.8 billion in September compared to $48.0 billion in August. Imports decreased to $228.7 billion while exports from the U.S. increased for the month to $187.9 billion. 


Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.

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