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CONSUMER PRICE INDEX –JANUARY 2019

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The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) was unchanged in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.  Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 1.6 percent before seasonal adjustment.

The energy index declined for the third consecutive month, offsetting increases in the indexes for all items less food and energy and for food. All the major energy component indexes declined in January, with the gasoline index falling 5.5 percent. The food index increased 0.2 percent, with the index for food at home rising 0.1 percent and the food away from home index increasing 0.3 percent.

The index for all items less food and energy increased 0.2 percent in January for the fourth consecutive month. The indexes for shelter, apparel, medical care, recreation, and household furnishings and operations were among the indexes that rose in January, while the indexes for airline fares and for motor vehicle insurance declined. 

The all items index increased 1.6 percent for the 12 months ending January, the smallest increase since the period ending June 2017. The index for all items less food and energy rose 2.2 percent over the last 12 months, the same increase as the 12 months ending November and December 2018. The food index rose 1.6 percent over the past year, while the energy index declined 4.8 percent.

PRODUCER PRICE INDEXES - JANUARY 2019

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The Producer Price Index for final demand edged down 0.1 percent in January, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Final demand prices also fell 0.1 percent in December and inched up 0.1 percent in November. (See table A.) On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index advanced 2.0 percent for the 12 months ended in January.

In January, the decline in the final demand index can be traced to a 0.8-percent decrease in prices for final demand goods. In contrast, the index for final demand services increased 0.3 percent.

The index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.2 percent in January following no change in December. For the 12 months ended in January, prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 2.5 percent.


Final Demand

Final demand goods: The index for final demand goods fell 0.8 percent in January, the largest decrease since dropping 1.2 percent in September 2015. Over three-quarters of the January decline can be traced to prices for final demand energy, which moved down 3.8 percent. The index for final demand foods fell 1.7 percent. Conversely, prices for final demand goods less foods and energy climbed 0.3 percent.

Product detail: Forty percent of the decrease in the index for final demand goods is attributable to a 7.3-percent decline in gasoline prices. The indexes for fresh and dry vegetables, diesel fuel, fresh fruits and melons, basic organic chemicals, and jet fuel also moved lower. In contrast, prices for construction machinery and equipment rose 1.7 percent. The indexes for processed poultry and residential electric power also increased.

Final demand services: The index for final demand services advanced 0.3 percent in January following no change in December. Over 80 percent of the rise can be traced to margins for final demand trade services, which increased 0.8 percent. (Trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers.) Prices for final demand transportation and warehousing services climbed 0.5 percent. The index for final demand services less trade, transportation, and warehousing was unchanged. 

Product detail: Half of the advance in prices for final demand services is attributable to margins for apparel, jewelry, footwear, and accessories retailing, which rose 6.3 percent. The indexes for health, beauty, and optical goods retailing; machinery, equipment, parts, and supplies wholesaling; chemicals and allied products wholesaling; hospital inpatient care; and transportation of passengers (partial) also moved higher. Conversely, prices for portfolio management fell 5.2 percent. The indexes for automotive fuels and lubricants retailing and for physician care also decreased.

REAL EARNINGS–JANUARY 2019

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All employees

Real average hourly earnings for all employees increased 0.2 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with no change in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.1 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in the average workweek. 

Real average hourly earnings increased 1.7 percent, seasonally adjusted, from January 2018 to January 2019. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 1.9-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.


Production and nonsupervisory employees

Real average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees increased 0.2 percent from December to January, seasonally adjusted. This result stems from a 0.1-percent increase in average hourly earnings combined with a 0.1-percent decrease in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

Real average weekly earnings increased 0.2 percent over the month due to the change in real average hourly earnings combined with no change in average weekly hours.

From January 2018 to January 2019, real average hourly earnings increased 2.1 percent, seasonally adjusted. Combining the change in real average hourly earnings with a 0.3-percent increase in the average workweek resulted in a 2.4-percent increase in real average weekly earnings over this period.

JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – DECEMBER 2018

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The number of job openings reached a series high of 7.3 million on the last business day of December, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.9 million and 5.5 million, respectively. Within separations, the quits rate was unchanged at 2.3 percent and the layoffs and discharges rate was little changed at 1.1 percent. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the nonfarm sector by industry and by four geographic regions.


Job Openings

On the last business day of December, the job openings level reached a series high of 7.3 million. The job openings rate was 4.7 percent. The number of job openings edged up for total private (+198,000) and was little changed for government. Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increases in construction (+88,000), accommodation and food services (+84,000), and health care and social assistance (+79,000). The job openings level decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decreases in nondurable goods manufacturing (-37,000), federal government (-32,000), and real estate and rental and leasing (-31,000). Job openings was little changed in all four regions.


Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.9 million in December. The hires rate was 3.9 percent. The hires level was little changed for total private and for government. Hires increased in retail trade (+126,000), educational services (+19,000), and mining and logging (+9,000). Hires decreased in information (-22,000) and in federal government (-10,000). The number of hires increased in the Midwest region.


Separations

Total separations includes quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Total separations is referred to as turnover. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations includes separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfers to other locations of the same firm.

The number of total separations was little changed at 5.5 million in December. The total separations rate was 3.7 percent. The number of total separations was little changed for total private and for government. Total separations increased in federal government (+8,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions.

The number of quits was little changed in December at 3.5 million. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The quits level was little changed for total private but decreased for government (-18,000). Quits increased in professional and business services (+60,000) and in health care and social assistance (+49,000). Quits decreased in a number of industries, with the largest decrease in other services (-42,000). The number of quits was little changed in all four regions.

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in December at 1.7 million. The layoffs and discharges rate was 1.1 percent. The layoffs and discharges level was little changed for total private and for government. Layoffs and discharges increased in retail trade (+56,000) and in federal government (+4,000). The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all four regions.

The number of other separations edged up (+50,000) in December. The other separations level also edged up for total private (+47,000) and was little changed for government. Other separations increased in professional and business services (+23,000), health care and social assistance (+21,000), and other services (+15,000). Other separations decreased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (-4,000). The number of other separations increased in the Midwest region.


Net Change in Employment

Large numbers of hires and separations occur every month throughout the business cycle. Net employment change results from the relationship between hires and separations. When the number of hires exceeds the number of separations, employment rises, even if the hires level is steady or declining. Conversely, when the number of hires is less than the number of separations, employment declines, even if the hires level is steady or rising. Over the 12 months ending in December, hires totaled 68.5 million and separations totaled 65.9 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.6 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.

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