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Richmond Fed at a Glance

August 2019

National & Regional Economy

bar graph markets

National Economy

  • Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019, according to the advance estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Second quarter growth fell short of the 3.1 percent estimated for the first quarter.
  • Second quarter real GDP growth reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and government spending and negative contributions from nonresidential and residential fixed investment.
  • Real PCE growth in the second quarter was 4.3 percent — higher than the 1.1 percent rate of growth in the first quarter of 2018 and higher than the 4.0 percent rate in the second quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, exports fell 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2019 and imports rose 0.1 percent.
  • Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), slowed slightly to a 12-month change of 1.6 percent in June, down from 1.8 percent in May. Meanwhile, year-over-year growth in core CPI, which excludes food and energy, edged up 0.1 percentage point in June to 2.1 percent.
  • Total payroll employment increased in July as 164,000 net new jobs were added to the economy. The most prominent increases in the month were in professional and business services, education and health services, and financial activities industries. Since July 2018, payroll employment increased 1.5 percent. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7 percent in July and the labor force participation rate rose 0.1 percentage point to 63.0 percent.

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Regional Economy

  • Our most recent surveys suggested fairly steady activity in the service sector and a softening in the manufacturing sector in the Fifth District in July. The manufacturing composite diffusion index fell to −12 in July while in the service sector the overall revenues index declined but remained positive at a reading of 11. Survey results suggested continued employment growth in the service sector but weakening growth in the manufacturing sector.
  • Total nonfarm employment increased in the Fifth District in June as 6,100 jobs were added, on net, in the month. Jobs were gained in every District jurisdiction except Virginia and West Virginia. The most jobs were added in North Carolina, where employment grew by 3,500 jobs (0.1 percent).
  • On a year-over-year basis, payroll employment in the Fifth District grew 1.0 percent, with the strongest growth of 1.7 percent coming from South Carolina and the weakest growth of 0.2 percent coming from the District of Columbia.
  • The unemployment rate in the Fifth District was unchanged at 3.7 percent in June, the same reading it had in June 2018. Unemployment rates held steady or dropped slightly in June among all District jurisdictions and ranged from 2.9 percent in Virginia to 5.6 percent in D.C.
  • Since May 2018, home prices in the Fifth District grew 3.3 percent, trailing the national increase of 3.6 percent. Home prices increased over the year in every jurisdiction. South Carolina saw the fastest year-over-year home price growth (4.4 percent), while the slowest growth was reported in West Virginia (1.6 percent).

Sources: Snapshot, Regional Economy, Bureau of Labor Statistics, CoreLogic

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Jim Strader (804) 697-8956 (804) 332-0207 (mobile)