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CPI: March 2015

Posted on Apr 18, 2015 | 0 comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its March 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. Click here to read the report.

The CPI decrease 0.1 percent over the last 12 months (see the figure below). This reading remains well below the Fed’s inflation target of 2 percent.

Core CPI–which excludes food and energy prices–increased 1.8 percent over the last 12 months.

The following figure shows both CPI and Core CPI since March 2014.

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 3.03.40 PM

Majors That Pay You Back

Posted on Apr 17, 2015 | 0 comments

Why does one job pay more than another job? The answer: the interaction of supply and demand determines market salaries. So, before you progress too far in your academic career, it might be worth your while to take a peek at the equilibrium salaries for a major that interests you. Below are the top 30 majors ranked by mid-career salary according to 2014-15 list of Bachelor’s Degrees by salary potential.

Another fun fact is this: what you study in college has an even bigger impact on your future salary than where you study it.

You can view the full list by clicking here.

Rank Major Starting Salary Mid-Career Salary
1 Petroleum Engineering $102,300 $176,300
2 Actuarial Mathematics $60,800 $119,600
3 Nuclear Engineering $67,000 $118,800
4 Chemical Engineering $69,600 $116,700
5 Electronics & Communications Engineering $64,100 $113,200
6 Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) $66,500 $113,000
7 Computer Science (CS) & Engineering $66,700 $112,600
8 Computer Engineering (CE) $67,300 $108,600
9 Electrical Engineering (EE) $65,900 $107,900
9 Aerospace Engineering $64,700 $107,900
11 Materials Science & Engineering $64,000 $105,100
11 Physics $57,200 $105,100
13 Computer Science (CS) $61,600 $103,600
14 Statistics $54,900 $103,100
15 Mechanical Engineering (ME) $62,100 $101,600
16 Computer Science (CS) & Mathematics $63,200 $101,400
17 Software Engineering $61,700 $99,800
18 Business & Information Technology (IT) $56,900 $99,100
19 Economics $51,400 $97,700
20 Industrial Engineering (IE) $61,900 $97,200
21 Applied Mathematics $54,300 $96,500
22 Management Information Systems (MIS) $56,300 $95,500
23 Government $45,100 $94,400
24 Civil Engineering (CE) $55,100 $93,400
25 Mathematics $50,300 $92,900
26 Biomedical Engineering (BME) $59,600 $92,200
27 Civil & Environmental Engineering $55,900 $91,800
28 Architectural Engineering $57,000 $90,400
28 Environmental Engineering $51,400 $90,400
30 Aviation Management $48,100 $90,000

Duration of Job Loss in Tampa Bay

Posted on Apr 15, 2015 | 0 comments

The figure below illustrates Tampa Bay’s job loss duration because of the Great Recession and the last two U.S. recessions. As of February 2015, seven years and two months have passed since the recession began in December 2007 and the area remains net negative 7,200 jobs, which is 0.5 percent lower than the employment level observed in December 2007.

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Measuring Specialization in Tampa Bay, FL

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 | 0 comments

The following reports Tampa Bay’s 2014 employment shares by sector relative to the U.S. Higher ratios indicate the employment sectors in which Tampa Bay specializes. The analysis neutralizes common macroeconomic events in the dataset by comparing local sector shares relative to national sector shares. The analysis reveals that the top sectors in Tampa Bay are: insurance; wired telecom; banks; finance and insurance; financial activities; real estate; other telecom; and physicians.

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 11.28.40 AMClick on the figure to enlarge. The percentages next to the job type report its share of the Tampa Bay labor market.

U.S. Consumers Will Open Their Wallets Soon Enough

Posted on Apr 10, 2015 | 0 comments

Bloomberg Businessweek’s Peter Coy writes about the U.S. consumer in the latest issue. Click here to read the article.

Here is a summary of Peter’s point:

The U.S. personal savings rate was 5.8 percent in February—the highest rate since 2012. Because consumer spending is nearly 70 percent of the U.S. economy, an increase in the savings rate has a significant negative impact on short run economic growth. This is why some are concerned about an increase in the savings rate. However, others believe that the increase is no more than a blip. Indeed, three economists from Deutsche Bank Securities in a March 25 report called U.S. Consumers: Still Shopping, Not Dropping report that “concerns about the outlook for the consumer are overstated.” Their model predicts the savings rate will fall to 3 percent to 3.5 percent by 2017. Such optimism is supported by the continued increases in the average hourly earnings, a rise in stock and home prices and a weekly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index that is at its highest level since before the great recession. See the chart below (click on the chart to enlarge.

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Case-Shiller HPI: Tampa Bay

Posted on Apr 9, 2015 | 0 comments

Tampa Bay’s Case-Shiller overall home price index (HPI) declined 48 percent from peak to trough during the great recession. It has subsequently increased 33 percent. See the figure below for data from January 2000 through January 2015.

When segmented into three tiers, the lowest tier was most impacted by the housing collapse. The low tier fell 63 percent from peak to trough. It has since increased 60 percent.

The middle tier declined 52 percent from peak to trough. It has since increased 37 percent. And the highest tier declined 43 percent from peak to trough. The high tier segment has since increase 30 percent.

The housing recovery in Tampa is continuing at a moderate pace.

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March Jobs Report

Posted on Apr 3, 2015 | Comments Off

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its March 2015 jobs report on Friday. Read the BLS report here.

The U.S. added 126,000 jobs in March 2015, compared with an average monthly gain of 269,000 over the prior 12 months.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 5.5 percent.

The labor force participation rate in March was little changed at 62.7 percent and the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 59.3 percent.

Here are other highlights from the March report:

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.6 million persons. The number of long-term unemployed has decreased by 1.1 million over the last 12 months. They account for 29.8 percent of the unemployed.

Individuals working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job, at 6.7 million persons, increased in March.

The number of discouraged workers in March 2015 was 738,000 persons, which was little changed from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

GDP 4th Quarter 2014 (Third Estimate)

Posted on Mar 27, 2015 | Comments Off

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) has issued the following news release today:

Real gross domestic product — the value of the production of goods and services in the United States, adjusted for price changes — increased at an annual rate of 2.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the “third” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 5.0 percent.

See figure below.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 4.32.06 PM

Read the release here.

Ripple Effect: African Currencies

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 | Comments Off

The rise in the value of the U.S. dollar over the last few months is having a ripple effect. Once such effect is the relative decline of African currencies. See the chart below from the WSJ.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 9.09.34 AM

As African currencies decline relative to the dollar, African businesses are struggling to find enough U.S. dollars to buy imported goods. As a result, profit margins are shrinking because imported goods are becoming extraordinarily expensive. Local business are apparently struggling to find alternatives goods to sell and many store shelves are remain empty–highlighted in the picture below.

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CPI: February 2015

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 | Comments Off

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its February 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report. Click here to read the report.

The CPI was unchanged over the last 12 months (see the figure below). This reading remains well below the Fed’s inflation target of 2 percent.

Core CPI–which excludes food and energy prices–increased 1.7 percent over the last 12 months.

The following figure shows both CPI and Core CPI since February 2014.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 8.56.06 AM

March FOMC Meeting

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 | Comments Off

The Federal Reserve concluded its latest Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting today.

The two most important paragraphs from the announcement are:

“Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that economic growth has moderated somewhat. Labor market conditions have improved further, with strong job gains and a lower unemployment rate. A range of labor market indicators suggests that underutilization of labor resources continues to diminish. Household spending is rising moderately; declines in energy prices have boosted household purchasing power. Business fixed investment is advancing, while the recovery in the housing sector remains slow and export growth has weakened. Inflation has declined further below the Committee’s longer-run objective, largely reflecting declines in energy prices. Market-based measures of inflation compensation remain low; survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.”


“To support continued progress toward maximum employment and price stability, the Committee today reaffirmed its view that the current 0 to 1/4 percent target range for the federal funds rate remains appropriate. In determining how long to maintain this target range, the Committee will assess progress–both realized and expected–toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments. Consistent with its previous statement, the Committee judges that an increase in the target range for the federal funds rate remains unlikely at the April FOMC meeting. The Committee anticipates that it will be appropriate to raise the target range for the federal funds rate when it has seen further improvement in the labor market and is reasonably confident that inflation will move back to its 2 percent objective over the medium term. This change in the forward guidance does not indicate that the Committee has decided on the timing of the initial increase in the target range.”

You may also read the complete announcement here.

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