U.S. Shown to Add 304,000 Jobs in January in Stellar Jobs Report

The U.S. economy, surpassing expectations, added 304,000 jobs in January, indicating the economy remains as strong as it has been in recent months. Economists had been expecting gains of about 180,000 new jobs for the month.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 3.9% to 4%, mainly due to the government shutdown. The U.S. government was closed from December 22, 2018 until January 25, 2019 in the longest shutdown in the nation’s history. As a result, the number of Americans who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 175,000.

The figure includes furloughed federal employees classified as unemployed under the definitions used the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that issues the monthly employment report.

Wages ticked up slightly, as average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $27.56. Over the year hourly earnings have grown by 85 cents, or 3.2%. The labor force participation rate, the mark that measures the percentage of working class Americans either employed or actively seeking employment, remained virtually unchanged at 63.2%. It has grown by half a percentage point over the last year.

Industries showing the strongest gains were leisure and hospitality with 74,000 new jobs added, construction with 52,000 new jobs added, and health care with 42,000 new jobs added. Professional and business services also showed strong gains with 30,000 and 21,000 positions added respectively.

President Donald Trump touted the news in a tweet Friday morning. “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!,” the President wrote on Twitter.

Economists had feared that ongoing trade tensions with China could put a damper on business investment. So far however, those concerns seem to have been kept at bay.

President Donald Trump is optimistic that a bilateral trade deal currently under negotiation between the U.S. and China will be a boon for American businesses. “China’s representatives and I are trying to do a complete deal, leaving NOTHING unresolved on the table,” the President wrote on Twitter last week.

No deal will be finalized however until after the President and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet face to face to discuss outstanding issues. The President said a meeting between the two leaders is scheduled to take place in the “near future.”

President Trump has set March 1 as a deadline for a trade deal with China to be completed before new sanctions against China are issued and existing ones are strengthened.

Photo by Bryan Mason via Flickr

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The Cities Millennials Are Moving to the Most

Seattle, WA, is the top destination for millennials according to the latest report by SmartAsset, a financial technology company that provides financial advice.

According to the study, nearly 30,000 millennials moved to city last year, while just over 22,000 moved out, leaving the city with a net influx of 7,300 millennials. The company points out that part of the draw is that the city was recently voted one of America’s best cities for young professionals, and that Washington State has no income tax.

Columbia, South Carolina, came in second with a net influx of nearly 7,000 20- to 34-year-olds. Sacramento beat out San Francisco and Los Angeles as the top destination for millennials in the state of California. The Golden State’s capital saw a net gain of 6,700 young professionals, many of them from other cities within the state. In total, around 10,000 millennials moved to Sacramento from other California cities.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Florida, Newport News, Virginia, San Jose, California, Denver, Colorado, Norfolk, Virginia and Virginia Beach, Virginia, rounded out the top ten destinations.

Virginia had three spots in the list’s top 10 cities, particularly the southeastern part of the state.

New York City once again took the bottom spot on the list. In total 69,200 residents moved to the city while 95,000 left The Big Apple.

Several cities and states are facing declining tax revenues due to the number of young professionals leaving for other locales. As a result many local governments are paying young workers to migrate to and work in their cities.

Hamilton, Ohio is offering new residents $5,000 to help pay for student loans. Grant County, Indiana, will give people who move there $5,000 toward the purchase of a new home. North Platte, a city of about 24,000 in central Nebraska, is offering up to $10,000 to new workers who move there.

The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000. Economists predict an unemployment rate of 3.6% by next year, which would make it the lowest in fifty years. A trend that is likely to exacerbate employment-shortage problems and migrations trends.

Photo by Rattlhed via Wikimedia Commons

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Unemployment Rate at Lowest Rate in 18 Years

The U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May, beating expectations and delivering a positive jobs report, indicating a bustling economy. The unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, the lowest it’s been since 2000.

Economists had been expecting an addition of 190,000 and the unemployment rate remaining steady at 3.9%.

Perhaps the most positive news in the report can be found in the wage-growth data. Although the rise in wage growth has been lower than in previous periods of such low unemployment, it still managed to slightly beat expectations. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% beating forecasts of 0.2%. It’s now up 2.7% over the past year. It was expected to remain steady at 2.6%.

Historically, the rate of wage growth in a period of such low unemployment has been about 4%.

The rise in wage growth also indicates employers are having a hard time filling open positions, leading them to increase wages.

The low unemployment and slight uptick in wages leads many to believe the Fed will raise interest rates in the coming months to head off an overheating economy.

Last month the number of unemployed Americans came into balance with the number of open positions waiting to be filled. There are roughly 6.3 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and about 6.5 million job openings.

The ratio of jobless Americans to job openings has been cut nearly in half since the beginning of the great recession in 2007. At that time there were 1.9 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

May is the 92nd straight month of positive job growth in the U.S. and the current economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

Photo via Library of Congress

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America’s Hottest Job

America’s most in-demand job right now is data scientist, according to industry analysts. Job postings for the positions rose 75% from January 2015 to January of this year at online job board Indeed.com.

Average salaries are about $119,000 and rise as high as $168,000 according to Robert Half Technology, a staffing agency. Some Ph.D candidates can earn as much as $300,000 from consulting firms.

A growing niche within the field is something called “sentiment analysis,” or being able to quantify how many people are posting positive or negative opinions about your brand or company.

Another common specialty is creating “recommendation engines” – programs that try to predict what and from where an individual’s next purchase will be.

There is such a demand for practitioners in the field in fact, that companies are scrambling to help colleges and universities with course projects.

Equifax, the giant credit-rating agency, was one of eleven companies that worked in conjunction with Cornell University this year. The company provided Cornell with an inordinate amount of data, scrubbed of personally identifiable information. The goal of the project, ostensibly, was to help determine which bill – mortgage, car or phone – an individual pays first.

The unstated goal for Equifax was building relationships with prospective candidates before they graduate and enter the job market.

“It used to be that if you were a mathematician you became a teacher, and then you became a geologist because your knowledge helped find oil, and then you went over to Wall Street,” said Digital Analytics Association Chairman Jim Sterne. “And now, the quote is, the best minds of our generation are being put to work in advertising.”

Photo by geralt via Pixabay

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U.S. Job Openings Now Equal Unemployed

U.S. job openings now nearly match unemployed workers, according to Labor Department data and Bloomberg News.

The April jobs report showed that the U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs. Jobs figures for February were revised slightly downward but were revised significantly upward for March. The net gain was an additional 30,000 jobs over previous estimates. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest it’s been since 2000.

The numbers mean there are roughly 6.3 million unemployed Americans according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to data released today, there are about 6.5 million job openings in the U.S., putting the number of unemployed Americans roughly on par with the number of positions waiting to be filled.

The ratio of unemployed Americans to job openings has been cut nearly in half since the beginning of the great recession in 2007. At that time there were 1.9 unemployed Americans for every job opening.

Openings rose in the construction, retail, professional and business services, leisure and hospitality sectors, but fell in manufacturing, finance and insurance.

Wages grew by 4 cents an hour and are up about 2.6% over the past year. Although, the rise is lower than it has been in previous periods of low unemployment (historically about 4%).

The current United States economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The U.S. will achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019.

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Unemployment at 3.9% After Positive Jobs Report

The U.S. economy added 164,000 jobs last month in a positive jobs report that indicated the country’s near-record expansion is continuing unabated. Economists were expecting an increase of about 193,000 jobs, but revisions to job figures for February (slightly downward), and March (significantly upward) means a net gain of an additional 30,000 jobs over previous estimates.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.9%, the lowest it’s been since 2000. It had been at 4.1% for several months since last year.

In another positive sign, wages grew by 4 cents an hour and are up about 2.6% over the past year. Although, the rise is lower than it has been in previous periods of low unemployment (historically about 4%).

The current United States economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history. The streak became the second-longest on record days before the Federal Reserve Bank was set to decide, in a two-day meeting, whether to increase interest rates or leave them where they are.

It signaled that it was leaning toward raising rates, modestly, over the course of the year.

The United States will still achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019, according to research by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Possible trade war with China and how policy makers manage money after the inflation rate reached a targeted-2% rate in March may serve as possible hurdles to the milestone.

Business investment is often cited as a main factor for the continued growth.

Despite glowing remarks from economists, some also worry that the increase in spending and the tax cuts the Trump administration implemented late last year may cause the economy to overheat. While both are believed to be prime ways to spur growth, they could accelerate growth and increase inflation, which would cause the federal reserve to pump the brakes on the economy by raising interest rates.

Photo by Jeff Djevdet via Flickr

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U.S. Expansion Becomes Second-Longest on Record

The current United States economic expansion is the second longest in the nation’s history.  The streak became the second-longest on record days before the Federal Reserve Bank is set to decide, in a two-day meeting, whether to increase interest rates or leave them where they are.

One factor that is said to have helped the expansion is that the central bank has been borrowing less since the 2009 recession. It is believed the Fed will refrain from raising rates this time, but will raise them gradually at a later date.

The United States will still achieve the largest expansion in its history if it can keep the current pace steady until July of 2019, according to research by the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Possible trade war with China and how policy makers manage money after the inflation rate reached a targeted-2% rate in March may serve as possible hurdles to the milestone.

According to Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC, “Absent a shock like a trade war, we’re likely to become the longest expansion. This is an economy that has been growing steadily at an OK, not fantastic pace. Things are well balanced,” he said.

Business investment is often cited as a main factor for the continued growth, although it’s unclear what effect President Trump’s heightening of trade tensions with China may have.  The picture becomes more uncertain when one considers that U.S. ally Canada, as well as many European allies, are being brought into the trade conflict with China as well.

One area of the economy that has seen lackluster growth during the expansion is wage growth.  It is believed, however, that a tight labor market may lead to increasing wages in the near future.  Finding qualified workers has become such a problem that local governments have begun offering individuals financial incentives to relocate to small cities and towns to fill jobs at local firms.

Despite glowing remarks from economists, some also worry that the increase in spending and the tax cuts the Trump administration implemented late last year may cause the economy to overheat. While both are believed to be prime ways to spur growth, they could accelerate growth and increase inflation, which would cause the federal reserve to pump the brakes on the economy by raising interest rates.

“It’s laying the foundation for the next recession,” said Moody Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi.  “By mid-2020, we will be most vulnerable to the next recession. It’s almost like you read the economic textbook and did the opposite of what it said to do.  It’s a real experiment — and in my view, it won’t end up well.”

Photo by OTA Photos via Flickr

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Millions of Retail Square Feet Have Gone Dark in 2018

The amount of retail space slated to close in 2018 is on pace to be an all-time record according to commercial real estate services firm CoStar Group. As of April the number of square feet of that has gone dark is 90 million. That’s on track to shatter the previous record of 105 million square feet set just last year.

CoStar has been tracking the annual number of retail-square-feet closings since 2008.

The latest retailer to announce major store closings is Bon-Ton, the department store chain. Earlier this week the company was forced into liquidation after failing to secure a plan to restructure the business and keep some locations open. The company had dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, and operated 200 stores totaling about 24 million square feet.

Retailers expected to announce further location-closings this year include Sears, Guitar Center, J.Crew and David’s Bridal.

Industry experts don’t believe storefronts are going away but they do believe the retail industry is undergoing a major redefinition. “I think it gets harder and harder the more these big boxes come on the market,” for property owners to find replacements, said Suzanne Mulvee, a senior real estate strategist at CoStar.

It’s believed the future of malls and retail properties will include diverse uses, including residential space, offices, entertainment and medical centers. CoStar believes 2018 will be a “peak year” for retail closings, with firms moving toward leaner store-locations and operations.

Some property owners see the closures as a positive, creating an opportunity to fill vacated space with more profitable businesses. A recent case study found that “Class-A” mall owners were more likely to fill empty space within a year of a major department store moving out than other landlords.

Photo by Random Retail via Flickr

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