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Richmond Fed at a Glance

July 2019

National & Regional Economy

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National Economy

  • Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to the third estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which matched the growth reported in the second estimate.
  • Although overall real GDP growth was unchanged from the second estimate, the third estimate reflected upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, state and local government spending, exports and residential fixed investment that were offset by downward revisions to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and inventory investment. Imports were also revised up, although growth remained negative.
  • Real PCE growth in the first quarter was revised down to 0.9 percent, which was lower than the 2.5 percent rate of growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, but higher than the 0.5 percent rate in the first quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, exports grew 5.4 percent in the first quarter of 2019, and despite the upward revision, imports declined at a 1.9 percent annual rate in the first quarter.
  • Inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), slowed slightly to a 12-month change of 1.8 percent in May, down from 2.0 percent in April. Meanwhile, year-over-year growth in core CPI, which excludes food and energy, edged down 0.1 percentage point in May to 2.0 percent.
  • Total payroll employment increased slightly in May as 75,000 net new jobs were added to the economy. The professional and business services, education and health services, and leisure and hospitality industries accounted for almost all of the jobs added in the month. Since May 2018, payroll employment increased 1.6 percent. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.6 percent in May and the labor force participation rate held steady at 62.8 percent.

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Regional Economy

  • Our most recent surveys suggested fairly steady growth in both the manufacturing and the service sector in the Fifth District in June. The manufacturing composite diffusion index declined slightly but remained positive, registering a value of 3 in June, while in the service sector, the overall revenues index rose to a reading of 17. Survey results suggested continued employment growth in both sectors.
  • Total nonfarm employment declined slightly in the Fifth District in May as 1,300 jobs were cut, on net, in the month. The greatest job loss was reported in Virginia, which lost 3,200 jobs (0.1 percent decrease). Employment also decreased slightly in Maryland, but the other jurisdictions saw employment growth.
  • On a year-over-year basis, payroll employment in the Fifth District grew 1.1 percent, with the strongest growth of 1.9 percent coming from South Carolina and the weakest growth of 0.5 percent coming from both D.C. and Maryland.
  • The unemployment rate in the Fifth District was unchanged at 3.7 percent in May but declined 0.1 percentage point compared to last May. Unemployment rates held steady or edged slightly higher in May among all District jurisdictions except for West Virginia and ranged from 3.0 percent in Virginia to 5.7 percent in D.C.
  • Since April 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 (4.8 percent), while the slowest growth was reported in West Virginia (1.4 percent).

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

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