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The State of our Union’s 21st Century Workforce

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out an ambitious goal to train 2 million workers with the necessary skills to land a job.  What are those skills in a 21st century economy?  As we have written previously in this blog, the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play a critical role in America's global economic leadership and are vital to securing the highest quality jobs of the future, to decreasing the gender wage gap, and to ensuring America retains global econo

Economic Indicator: Private Sector Employment up 257,000 in January 2012

Some good news on the employment front! The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their January 2012 report on the employment situation showing private sector employment increased 257,000 -- the largest increase since April 2011 (264,000).  In addition, private sector employment gains were revised upward by 58,000 in November and 8,000 in December.  Over the past 23 months, the private sector has added jobs every month for a total of nearly 3.7 million jobs.  

Economic Indicator: Light Vehicle Sales Up at start of 2012

One of the first available indicators about the U.S. economy in 2012 is the measure of retail sales of light vehicles and the news is good: January saw new sales just under 14.2 million (at an annual rate), up from 13.6 in December 2011.  This is highest monthly level since May 2008 (even higher than the August 2009 spike, or as I like to call it "Mount Cash-for-Clunkers").

Economic Indicator: A Look at Personal Income in 2010-11

Personal income ended the year on a positive note-increasing 0.5 percent in December, its largest gain since February 2011.

Economic Indicator: Private Construction Spending up in 2011

Like many other economic indicators (such as GDPEmployment, and Personal Income) construction spending finished the year on an upward trend as we move into 2012.  Total construction spending in December 2011 was $816.4 billion at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, up 1.5 percent from t

Economic Indicator – 2011 Employment Review: Which Jobs Grew in 2011; Next Steps for 2012

Last week's release of the December jobs data reveal industry employment trends for the whole year and afford us an opportunity to review the employment picture for 2011.  Broad-based economic and job growth is key to reducing the ranks of the jobless, and certainly 2011 brought positive steps in that direction as joblessness finally began to decline, and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.5 percent. 

A Timeline of Out Compete-ing

Economic Indicator: Holiday Retail Jobs Return to Pre-Recession Level – Taking a Closer Look

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday December 2 that the retail trade sector hired 423,500 more workers in November effectively a return to pre-recession levels for those jobs.

Economic Indicator: Understanding Holiday Retail Sales

Tomorrow we will release retail sales data for November amid a steady drumbeat of news stories about holiday shopping.  These stories beg the question of just how important sales are during the holiday season -- for overall consumer spending as well as for specialty stores.   The short answer is that total retail sales (excluding motor vehicle sales) tend to creep up about 3 percent every year between September and October (bearing in mind that September tends to be in a bit of a post-summer lull).  The upward creep continues at a bit over 4 percent in November, and then sales spike 17 per

Economic Indicator: The European Economy and U.S. Exports - A Seasonally Adjusted View

A recently released Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development (OECD) forecast suggests that the Euro area economies have already fallen into recession. This is likely to affect U.S. goods exports.  Has this expected effect shown up in the data yet?  Currently, it is difficult to tell when this effect may be occurring because the country export data are not adjusted for seasonal changes.

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