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Today's Facts

HOME PRICES TREND DOWN FOR SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH

Key Points:

  • The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index, which measures average home prices in major metropolitan areas across the nation, rose 3.8% in the year that ended in January, down from 5.6% in the previous month.
  • This is the seventh straight month home prices have fallen.
  • The 20-City Composite posted a 2.5% year-over-year gain, down from 4.6% in the previous month.
  • The 10-City Composite posted an 2.5% year-over-year gain, down from 4.4% in the previous month.
  • Miami reported the highest gains among the 20 cities in January with a 13.8% year-over-year price increase, followed by Tampa with a 10.5% increase, and Atlanta with an 8.4% increase.
  • San Francisco reported the highest decline in January with a 7.6% year-over-year price decrease, followed by Seattle with a 5.1% decrease, and San Diego with a 1.4% decrease.
  • All 20 cities reported lower price increases in the year ending January 2022 versus the year ending December 2022.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home prices.

REAL WAGES HAVE FALLEN 3.7% UNDER BIDEN

Key Points:

  • Real average hourly earnings are hourly earnings adjusted for inflation. They are one measure of real wages, which represent the economic return to work.
  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% in February from January and is up 6.0% in the last year.
  • Despite trending up between January 2017 and January 2021, real wages have trended down since January 2021.
  • Real average hourly earnings have fallen from $34.36 in January 2021 to $33.09 in February 2023, a 3.7% decrease.
  • Real average hourly earnings have fallen 1.3% in the last year alone, from $33.52 in February 2022 to $33.09 in February 2023.

HOME PRICES FELL IN FEBRUARY FOR FIRST TIME IN 11 YEARS

Key Points:

  • Existing-home sales rose 14.5% in February from March, breaking the twelve-month streak of declining sales.
  • Consensus among economists was a 0.7% decline.
  • Existing-home sales fell 22.6% from one year ago.
  • The median existing-home sales price decreased 0.2% from one year ago to $363,000, the first decline in more than a decade and breaking the longest streak on record.
  • First-time buyers were responsible for 27% of sales in February, down from 31% in January and 29% in February 2022.
  • ‚ÄúConscious of changing mortgage rates, home buyers are taking advantage of any rate declines,” said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Moreover, we’re seeing stronger sales gains in areas where home prices are decreasing and the local economies are adding jobs.”
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor home sales.

FOOD LEADS THE PRICE INCREASES IN THE LAST YEAR

Key Points:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% in February from January and is up 6.0% in the last year.
  • The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.5% in February and is up 5.5% from the previous year.
  • The overall food index rose 9.5%, food at home rose 10.2%, and food away from home rose 8.4% over the past 12 months.
  • The largest increase in food was for cereals and bakery products, which increased 14.6% and dairy which increased 12.3%.
  • The index for food away from home rose 8.4%, full service meals rose 8.0%, and limited service meals rose 7.2% over the last 12 months.
  • The energy index rose 5.2% over the past 12 months.
  • Fuel oil increased 9.2%, electricity increased 12.9%, and natural gas rose 14.3% over the last 12 months.
  • The index for all items less food and energy rose 5.5% over the past 12 months.
  • The index for airline fare rose 26.5%, motor vehicle insurance rose 14.5%, rent increased by 8.8%, and shelter increased 8.1%.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor inflation.

CONSUMERS PULLED BACK SPENDING IN FEBRUARY

Key Points:

  • Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, restaurants and online, fell 0.4% in February from January after rising 3.2% last month.
  • Consensus among economists was a 0.3% decline.
  • February’s decrease comes after the largest monthly gain in nearly two years in January, following two consecutive months of declines.
  • Excluding autos, retail sales also fell by 0.1% over the month.
  • Retail sales are up 6.4% from a year prior while prices remain high, advancing 6.0% from a year earlier.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor retail sales.

CONSUMER PRICES INCREASED 6.0% FROM YEAR AGO

Key Points:

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.4% in February after rising 0.5% in January.
  • CPI increased 6.0% from a year ago, down from 6.4% in January, and the lowest reading since September 2021.
  • The rate of price increases remained above 5% for the twenty-first straight month.
  • The index for energy decreased 0.6% over the month, food increased 0.4%, and shelter increased by 0.8% over the month.
  • The core CPI, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.5% in February and is up 5.5% from the previous year.
  • The energy index is up 5.5% and the food index is up 9.5% from the previous year.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor CPI.

11 STATES AND D.C. HAD UNEMPLOYMENT RATES ABOVE THE U.S. IN JANUARY

Key Points:

  • Unemployment rates fell in 5 states, rose in 2 states and the District of Columbia, and remained stable in 43 states in January.
  • The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.4% in January but rose to 3.6% in February.
  • 11 states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rates above the U.S. average in January.
  • North Dakota and South Dakota have the lowest unemployment rates at 2.1%, followed by Utah at 2.4%, and Montana and Nebraska at 2.5%.
  • Nevada has the highest unemployment rate at 5.5%, followed by Oregon at 4.8%, and Delaware and Washington at 4.6%.
  • The largest decreases in unemployment occurred in Arizona and Nebraska (-0.2%), and the largest increase was in the District of Columbia (+0.2%).

U.S. ADDS 311,000 JOBS IN FEBRUARY

Key Points:

  • Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February as the unemployment rate rose to 3.6%.
  • Consensus among economists was a gain of 205,000 jobs.
  • In February, the unemployed population rose to 5.9 million but there were 10.8 million job openings in January.
  • Leisure and hospitality added 105,000 jobs in February, employment in retail trade rose by 50,000, government rose by 46,000, employment in professional and business services rose 45,000, health care added 44,000 jobs, and construction added 24,000 jobs.
  • In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.08 to $33.09.
  • The average workweek for all private employees fell by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.
  • The labor force participation rate was unchanged at 62.5% and is 0.8% below its February 2020 level.

U.S. JOB OPENINGS FALL, LAYOFFS RISE IN JANUARY

Key Points:

  • The number of available jobs since May 2021 continues to outnumber Americans looking for work.
  • The tight labor market has pushed total job openings to nearly double the available workers this year, but hiring has slowed amid a broader economic slowdown.
  • Job openings fell by 410,000 to 10.8 million in January after rising to 11.23 million in December.
  • The number of job openings decreased in construction (-240,000), accommodation and food services (-204,000), and finance and insurance (-100,000).
  • The U.S. added 517,000 jobs in January but there were 5.69 million people unemployed.
  • In January, the number of hires and separations were little changed at 6.4 million and 5.9 million respectively.
  • Within separations, the number of quits decreased to 3.9 million – still near the record high of 4.4 million – and layoffs and discharges rose again to 1.7 million.
  • The labor force participation rate decreased over the month to 62.4% in January and is 0.9% below its February 2020 level.
  • The Right Facts will continue to monitor unemployment and job openings.

HIGHER STATE-LEVEL TAX RATES PREDICT POPULATION LOSSES

Key Points:

  • In 2022, higher top tax rates on personal income predicted population losses.
  • The map shows the top tax rate and the rate of population change for states with at least 5,000 population change.
  • Arrows to the left indicate a population loss while arrows to the right indicate a population gain.
  • In 2022, eight of the ten lowest tax states experienced population gains.
  • By contrast, in 2022, six of the ten highest tax states experienced population losses.