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December 2016

National & Regional Economy

National Economy

  • Real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 3.5 percent in the third quarter of 2016, an increase from the 1.4 percent growth in the second quarter, according to the third estimate of GDP from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  • Personal consumption expenditures (PCE) were a strong contributor to the GDP increase by growing 3.0 percent in the third quarter. The increase in GDP also reflected strength in export activity and positive, but smaller, contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, federal government expenditure and inventory investment.
  • The positive contributors to GDP were partially offset by negative contributions from residential fixed investment and state/local government spending.
  • Residential fixed investment declined 4.1 percent, according to the recent estimate, for a second consecutive negative reading.
  • According to the most recent inflation readings, the core consumer price index (CPI), which excludes food and energy, increased 2.1 percent from November 2015 to November 2016. Although the gap narrowed, the overall CPI continued to be more subdued than the core index, with a 12-month price increase of 1.7 percent.
  • The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs, on net, in November for a 0.1 percent increase in employment. Since November 2015, employment in the U.S. grew 1.6 percent by adding almost 188,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent in November while the labor force participation rate fell slightly to 62.7 percent.

Sources: Bureau of Economic AnalysisBureau of Labor Statistics

Regional Economy

  • According to our most recent surveys, business conditions improved for manufacturers and remained unchanged, with continued modest expansion, for services firms. The composite diffusion index of manufacturing activity rose from 4 in November to 8 in December while the overall revenues index for the service sector edged up 1 point to a reading of 4 in the month.
  • Total employment in the Fifth District rose 0.1 percent in November as employers added 17,700 jobs on net. Employers in South Carolina added the most jobs in November (12,500 jobs) while West Virginia reported the largest percentage growth of 1.4 percent by adding 10,400 jobs. Payroll employment also rose in Maryland and North Carolina but declined in the District of Columbia and in Virginia in the month.
  • Since November 2015, employment in the Fifth District grew 1.5 percent, which lagged slightly behind the national average of 1.6 percent. On a year-over-year basis, every jurisdiction in the District reported job growth ranging from 1.0 percent in Virginia to 2.2 percent in South Carolina.
  • The Fifth District unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent in November. At the jurisdiction level, unemployment rates declined in the District of Columbia and South Carolina, were unchanged in Maryland and West Virginia, but rose slightly in North Carolina and Virginia.
  • Since October 2015, home prices in the Fifth District rose 3.8 percent. Among jurisdictions, home price growth ranged from 2.2 percent in Virginia to 5.7 percent in South Carolina.

Sources: SnapshotRegional EconomyBureau of Labor StatisticsCoreLogic

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Laura Fortunato
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