by Valorie H. Rice
Senior Specialist, Business Information
Employment increased in 299 of the 346 largest counties in the United States between March 2016 and March 2017 according to the first quarter 2017 County Employment and Wages (QCEW) release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Maricopa County had one the largest numerical increases in employment, adding 48,500 workers, which translated into an increase of 2.6%. Pima County had an increase of 1.5% for the same period, in line with the U.S. figure of 1.6%. Wages improved in the first quarter compared to last year (they had decreased year-over-year in the fourth quarter 2016). Average weekly wage increased 6.6% in the U.S., 8.1% in Maricopa and 7.1% in Pima between the first quarter 2016 and first quarter 2017.
Bankruptcy filings in Arizona were up 14.1% over the year in August, with 1,523 compared to 1,335 in August of last year. Both the Phoenix and Tucson offices had higher number of filings, while the Yuma office (La Paz, Mohave, and Yuma counties) had fewer over the year.
The U.S. trade deficit notched up a tad in July to $43.7 billion, a change of $0.1 billion over the month prior. Both exports and imports were down for the month; however, exports at $194.4 billion were down $0.6 billion compared to imports at $238.1 billion which were down $0.4 billion. Year-to-date, the deficit in trade was 9.6% higher than the same period a year ago.
There was an increase of 156,000 total nonfarm jobs in the U.S. during August according to the September 1 Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) release. Industries gaining jobs were manufacturing, construction, professional and technical services, health care, and mining. The August unemployment rate was 4.4%, which has oscillated between 4.3% and 4.4% since April. Both June and July jobs numbers were revised down, with employment gains averaging 185,000 per month for the last three months after revisions.
The second estimate for second quarter 2017 real GDP was 3.0% according to the August 30 Bureau of Economic Analysis release. The earlier estimate for the quarter had been 2.6%. Increases in personal consumption expenditures and nonresidential fixed investment were larger than previously estimated, bringing the current estimate higher. A third estimate for the quarter will be released September 28. Real GDP was 1.2% in the first quarter 2017.
Phoenix home prices increased 5.8% over the year in June, the same rate as the U.S., according to the August 29 S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Indices release. Seattle continued to have the highest year-over-year gain in home prices at 13.4%, while Cleveland had the smallest change at 2.9% for June. The national house price index level is now higher than at the 2006 peak.
Hands and calculator photo courtesy Shutterstock.