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April Jobs Report: The Impact of Education and Age on Manufacturing Employment

Before getting into the numbers from today's employment release (check back for the forthcoming blog post on them), I want to dig a little deeper into the underlying data and examine what has been happening to a critical sector of the U.S. economy—manufacturing.

Car or Truck? Why Gas Prices Help Drive Car Sales

Not surprisingly, rising gasoline prices can affect motor vehicle buying behavior.1 And lately, prices have been rising fast. Based on daily estimates from the American Automobile Association (AAA), regular gasoline prices jumped again in April, following a string of increases that started in July of 2010. Over this same time period, the auto share of total light vehicle sales has been trending up. That is, buying behavior has shifted more toward autos and away from light trucks such as SUVs.

What GDP Didn't Show Us about Personal Income

GDP, Employment and Energy Prices

Q1 GDP growth came in at 1.8 percent – about what was expected. So, what does this mean? Well, 1.8 is less than 3.1 (the growth rate posted in the last quarter of last year) and is less than the rate most think the economy will grow at for the remainder of 2011. Therefore, Q1 appears to be a little bit of a pothole/air pocket/pause… which begs the questions, what caused this pothole and how concerned should we be?

Jobs and GDP: Not What You Think

Many private-sector forecasters are expecting GDP growth to hit a bit of an air pocket in the first quarter of 2011 before growing at a pace above 3 percent for the remainder of the year.1 But the temporary deceleration in GDP Blue Chip forecasters are expecting coincides with an increase in private payrolls of 564,000 from December to March, the fastest pace of growth so far in this recovery.2 How can economic growth slow when employment is picking up? Well, this result is not unusual it turns out.

Businesses are Investing in the Recovery

The U.S. Commerce Department has two releases this week that analysts will look to as they try to quantify the role of business investment in the economic recovery – the March advance durable goods release coming out this Wednesday, April 27th, and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) release for the first quarter of 2011 coming out on Thursday, April 28th.

Job Gains + Lower Taxes = More Spending

Today's report on retail sales is largely in line with expectations and holds few surprises: total sales increased 0.4 percent in March following a 1.1 percent gain in February. The other good news is that the data from January and February were revised upward a tad (the technical definition of "a tad" is a tenth of a percentage point in growth rates).

Quirky Trade Stats: A Closer Look at February's Foreign Trade Report

As we have emphasized in the past, never put too much focus on a single month's trade numbers, as the monthly wiggles can be largely influenced by a wide set of idiosyncratic factors, such as exports of aircraft, imports of oil, spikes in the trading of pharmaceuticals, seasonal adjustments, the date of the Chinese New Year (seriously, see below)…

Gas (Prices) and Financial Indigestion

Question: Do increases in gas prices lead us to cut back on how much gasoline we put into our cars and trucks?

Excellent News in March Employment Report

Today's blog features our first posting from the Department of Commerce's Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Blank, who addresses the March employment report below.

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