Current State Of The U.S. Economy

1417 words - 6 pages

EmploymentAccording to Bureau of Labor Statistics (Utgoff, 2003, November), nonfarm payroll employment rose by 126,000 in October, following increases in August and September that totaled 160,000, after revision. The increase in payroll employment over the last 3 months contrasts with declines in the February-July period that averaged 85,000 per month. Several service industries added jobs in October. Manufacturing employment continued to decline, although at slower pace than earlier in the year. The unemployment rate, at 6.0 percent, was essentially unchanged over the month.The jobless rates for all the major worker groups showed little change over the month. About 8.8 million persons were unemployed, of whom 2.0 million had been without a job for 27 weeks or longer. Employment as measured by our household survey rose over the month.A net growth of 126,000 jobs was reported in October, the largest one-month gain since the recession officially ended in November 2001. Unemployment has held steady at 6%. Economic growth leaped 7.2% in the third quarter, while worker productivity rose a remarkable 8.1%. The four-week moving average of initial applications for unemployment benefits dropped from 420,500 to 408,750. This improvement in the labor market could be an indication that the economy is strengthening. A recovery in the labor market is needed to help maintain consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of the economy. President Bush, increasingly desperate for an economic turnaround as 2004 nears, called the strong employment numbers " the beginning of good news for job seekers."IncomeIn September 2003, real disposable personal income decreased 1.2 percent at a seasonally adjusted monthly rate. Per capita real disposable personal income (at a seasonally adjusted annual rate) decreased $337. The financial condition of U.S. farmers and other agricultural stakeholders is expected to improve in 2003. Net farm income, a measure of the sector's profitability, is forecast to be up $20 billion (58 percent) from the $35.3 billion earned in 2002 and 18 percent above the 10-year average. Median household money income in the United States in 2002 was $42,409, 1.1 percent lower than in 2001 after adjusting for 1.6 percent inflation. Under four alternative income definitions that deduct income and payroll taxes and include the value of various noncash benefits, real median household income did not change for three of the four income alternatives and declined 0.8 percent for income after taxes. For the second consecutive year the poverty rate rose, from 11.7 percent in 2001 to 12.1 percent in 2002. The number of poor increased also, by 1.7 million, to 34.6 million poor in 2001. Median household net worth in 1995 was $40,200, a figure not significantly different from the 1993 median household net worth of $39,590 (in 1995 dollars).MoneyTo deal with the threat of inflation, the Federal Reserve keeps on lowering the fed funds rate. On June 23, the Fed...

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