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JOB OPENINGS AND LABOR TURNOVER – JANUARY 2019

The Free Press WV

The number of job openings was little changed at 7.6 million on the last business day of January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Over the month, hires and separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.6 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. The release also includes 2018 annual estimates for hires and separations. The annual number of hires at 68.9 million and the annual number of quits at 40.1 million increased in 2018. The annual number of layoffs and discharges at 21.9 million edged up in 2018.


Job Openings

On the last business day of January, the job openings level was little changed at 7.6 million. The job openings rate was 4.8 percent. The number of job openings was little changed for total private and increased for government (+59,000). Job openings increased in a number of industries, with the largest increases in wholesale trade (+91,000), real estate and rental and leasing (+60,000), and information (+42,000). The job openings level decreased in other services (-98,000), retail trade (-97,000), and arts, entertainment, and recreation (-40,000). The number of job openings was little changed in all four regions.


Hires

The number of hires was little changed at 5.8 million in January. The hires rate was 3.9 percent. The hires level was little changed for total private and for government. The number of hires was little changed in all industries and all four regions.


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 5.6 million in January. 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 real estate and rental and leasing (+20,000) but decreased in federal government (-11,000). The number of total separations was little changed in all four regions.

The number of quits was little changed in January at 3.5 million. The quits rate was 2.3 percent. The quits level was little changed for total private but increased for government (+20,000). Quits increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+19,000) and in state and local government education (+17,000). Quits decreased in federal government (-6,000). The number of quits was little changed in all four regions.

The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in January 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. The number of layoffs and discharges was little changed in all industries and in all four regions.

The number of other separations was little changed in January. The other separations level was little changed for total private and decreased for government (-10,000). Other separations increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+8,000) but decreased in federal government (-6,000). The number of other separations was little changed in all four regions.


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 January, hires totaled 69.2 million and separations totaled 66.3 million, yielding a net employment gain of 2.8 million. These totals include workers who may have been hired and separated more than once during the year.


Annual Levels and Rates

Calculating annual levels and rates allows additional comparisons across years. Annual levels for hires, quits, layoffs and discharges, other separations, and total separations are the sum of the 12 published monthly levels. Annual rates are computed by dividing the annual level by the Current Employment Statistics (CES) annual average employment level, and multiplying that quotient by 100. Consistent with BLS practice, annual estimates are published only for not seasonally adjusted data and are released with the January news release each year. Note that annual estimates are not calculated for job openings because job openings are a stock, or point-in-time, measurement for the last business day of each month.

In 2018, there were 68.9 million hires, an increase of 3.3 million from 2017. Total separations (the sum of quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations) rose by 2.6 million in 2018 to 66.1 million. Quits rose for the ninth consecutive year reaching 40.1 million in 2018, up by 2.4 million. Quits comprised 61 percent of total separations. Layoffs and discharges edged up by 307,000 in 2018 to 21.9 million and comprised 33 percent of total separations. Other separations edged down by 44,000 in 2018 to 4.1 million and comprised 6 percent of total separations.

The annual hires for 2018 was 46.3 percent of the annual average CES employment level. This rate has been trending upwards since 2009. The annual total separations rate for 2018 was 44.3 percent. The annual rates for the components of total separations were 26.9 percent for quits, 14.7 percent for layoffs and discharges, and 2.8 percent for other separations.

‘Simple Act of Kindness’ Led to Biggest US Lottery Payout

The Free Press WV

The winner of the single biggest lottery jackpot payout in US history has come forward, weeks ahead of the deadline—but we may never know their name. Officials in South Carolina, one of eight states that allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, say the winner of October’s $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot has claimed their prize but decided not to reveal their identity, NBC4 reports. The winner, who had until April 19 to claim the prize, has opted for a lump-sum payment of close to $878 million, reports the AP. The only bigger prize in American lottery history, a $1.585 billion Powerball jackpot in Jan. 2016, was split between winners in three states.

The South Carolina Lottery says the winning ticket was bought Oct. 23 at the KC Mart in Simpsonville, a Greenville suburb. The organization says the winner allowed a fellow customer buying lottery tickets to go ahead of them in line at the store, the Washington Post reports. “A simple act of kindness led to an amazing outcome,“ officials say. “We are delighted that the winner is a South Carolinian and has come forward to claim this remarkable prize,“ says lottery director Hogan Brown. “We respect the winner’s decision to remain anonymous, and we will honor the winner’s wishes.“ The state, which had worried that the prize would go unclaimed, will receive around $61 million in income tax.

U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 03.15.2019

The Free Press WV

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index posted a 2.9% increase this week as the technology, health-care and energy sectors led a broad advance that was boosted by data showing inflationary pressures remain tame while declining global oil supplies lifted crude-oil futures.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2,822.48, up from last Friday’s closing level of 2,743.07. The index is now up 13% for the year to date.

The gain was broad, with every sector of the S&P 500 in the black for the week, led by the technology sector, up 4.9%. The next-largest gains for the week were posted by energy and health care, up 3.2% each.

The broad climb came as this week’s round of economic data included the consumer-price index, which rose a seasonally adjusted 0.2% last month. The reading boosted investors’ confidence that the Federal Open Market Committee will hold off rate increases in the near future.

The technology sector’s jump was led by Nvidia (NVDA) and Apple (AAPL). Shares of Nvidia added 13% this week as the chip maker confirmed a deal to acquire Israeli-based computer-networking-products maker Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) for $125 per share in cash, representing a total enterprise value of approximately $6.9 billion. Nvidia expects the deal to immediately boost its adjusted gross margin, adjusted earnings per share and free cash flow upon completion of the transaction, which is expected by the close of 2019.

Apple’s shares rose 7.6% this week amid excitement over an expected announcement by the consumer-technology company of a video-streaming service. The company is expected to unveil the service at an event scheduled for March 25 at its Cupertino, California headquarters. Apple’s shares were also boosted this week by a report by Morgan Stanley saying the consumer-technology company appears to have gained more share in the Chinese smartphone market in the first two months of the year after having lost some ground in December.

The health-care sector’s advancers, meanwhile, included Align Technology (ALGN), which unveiled a partnership with Digital Smile Design under which the latter will highlight Align’s Invisalign system and iTero Element scanners as “the digital solutions of choice for tooth movement and scanning.“ Align’s shares climbed 9.3% this week.

The energy sector’s rise came as crude-oil futures rose to four-month highs, boosted by data showing crude-oil stockpiles unexpectedly fell by 3.9 million barrels last week to 449.1 million barrels. The drop in inventories comes amid sanctions by the US on Venezuela and Iran.

Among the energy sector’s gainers, shares of TechnipFMC (FTI) rose 9.4% this week amid chatter that the company is close to winning a coveted deal on the second phase of a “giant” field scheme off Norway, according to a report from Upstreamonline.com. The contract is expected to be valued at $400 million to $500 million for a subsea production system.

U.S. IMPORT AND EXPORT PRICE INDEXES - FEBRUARY 2019

The Free Press WV

Prices for U.S. imports advanced 0.6 percent in February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, after ticking up 0.1 percent in January and falling 1.4 percent in December. The February increase was led by higher fuel prices. U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following decreases of 0.5 percent and 0.7 percent the previous 2 months.


Imports

U.S. import prices increased 0.6 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since a 0.9-percent advance in May. Despite the February increase, import prices declined 1.3 percent from February 2018 to February 2019. Both fuel and nonfuel prices contributed to the 12-month decrease.

Fuel Imports: Prices for import fuel rose 4.9 percent in February, after advancing 4.1 percent in January and falling 13.3 percent in December. The February increase was the largest monthly advance since a 6.1-percent rise in May. Higher prices for both petroleum and natural gas contributed to the February increase. Petroleum prices advanced 4.7 percent in February and prices for natural gas rose 10.5 percent over the same period. Despite the February increase, fuel prices fell 6.5 percent over the past 12 months. Prices for petroleum drove the 12-month decline, falling 7.9 percent. Natural gas prices partially offset the over-the-year decline, rising 17.5 percent.

All Imports Excluding Fuel: Nonfuel import prices recorded no change in February following a 0.3-percent decrease in January. Rising prices for consumer goods and nonfuel industrial supplies and materials offset declining prices for foods, feeds, and beverages and capital goods. Prices for automotive vehicles recorded no change. The price index for nonfuel imports declined 0.6 percent over the past 12 months, the largest over-the-year drop since September 2016.

Nonfuel Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonfuel industrial supplies and materials prices increased 0.3 percent in February. Higher prices for lumber, copper, and nickel contributed to the February advance.
Finished Goods: Import prices for finished goods were mixed in February. The price index for consumer goods rose 0.3 percent, driven by higher prices for medicinal, dental, and pharmaceutical materials. Capital goods prices edged down 0.1 percent and automotive vehicle prices recorded no change.

Foods, Feeds, and Beverages: Prices for foods, feeds, and beverages fell 0.8 percent in February. The monthly drop was led by a 7.3-percent decline in vegetable prices. A 2.1-percent rise in meat prices partially


Exports

U.S. export prices rose 0.6 percent in February following a 0.5-percent decline in January and a 0.7-percent drop in December. Higher prices for both agricultural and nonagricultural commodities contributed to the February increase. The price index for U.S. exports advanced 0.3 percent over the past 12 months driven by higher nonagricultural prices.

Agricultural Exports: Export prices for agricultural commodities rose 0.3 percent in February, after falling 2.1 percent in January. Despite the February advance, overall agricultural prices fell 0.2 percent over the past 12 months. Lower prices for soybeans, meat, and nuts drove the 12-month decline.

All Exports Excluding Agriculture: Nonagricultural export prices increased 0.7 percent in February, the largest monthly rise since April 2018. Higher prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials led the February increase, with rising prices for each of the finished goods categories contributing to the advance. The price index for nonagricultural exports increased 0.3 percent for the year ended in February following a 0.2-percent decline for the 12-month period ended in January. The 12-month rise in February was driven mostly by higher prices for capital goods, offsetting lower prices for nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials.

Nonagricultural Industrial Supplies and Materials: Nonagricultural industrial supplies and materials prices rose 1.6 percent in February, after recording a 1.4-percent decline in January. Higher prices for fuel led the February increase, with rising prices for gold contributing as well.

Finished Goods: Prices for finished goods were up in February. Capital goods prices rose 0.2 percent, primarily driven by higher prices for transportation equipment. Prices for export automotive vehicles increased 0.4 percent, the largest monthly advance since January 2018. In February, consumer goods prices rose 0.3 percent.

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