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U.S. productivity is up for the third quarter in a row. What does that mean?

Feb 1, 2024
Rising productivity makes possible rising living standards over time.
One way to think about productivity is the total amount of income the economy is generating per hour, says Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute.
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How are health insurance costs reflected in inflation calculations?

Nov 13, 2023
To make the CPI’s health care component more accurate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics changed how it uses health insurance data.
Rather than tracking health insurance premiums, the BLS tracks how much health insurance companies retain of the premiums they receive after paying for services.
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Wage growth cools in October

Nov 3, 2023
Average hourly earnings rose 4.1% year-over-year in October; the rate peaked near 6% in March 2022. The slowdown in wage growth is helping the Fed wrestle inflation lower.
The rate of average hourly earnings growth slowed in October, which is exactly what the Fed hopes might further cool inflation.
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A government shutdown would stifle flow of economic data

Sep 21, 2023
The threat comes just when the Federal Reserve really needs a clear picture of how the economy is doing.
The Federal Reserve relies on government-produced data to make monetary policy. Above, Chair Jerome Powell.
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Why inflation runs hottest in the Mountain West

May 9, 2023
Last month, the CPI pegged area inflation at 6% year-over-year, a whole percentage point higher than the national average.
The cost of housing accounts for a third of the CPI. With the flexibility of remote work, many people have moved to the Mountain West, raising prices for locals.
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Housing costs are a main reason inflation is still high

Mar 14, 2023
The cost of shelter is driving more than 70% of inflation right now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So what gives?
It can take a year or more for changes in housing costs to show up in inflation data.
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The job market cooled in January — that's what the Fed's been hoping for

Mar 8, 2023
There are fewer job openings and fewer people are quitting jobs — signs that the Federal Reserve's interest rate hikes are working as intended.
Job openings fell about 49% in construction, according to the recent JOLTS report. There were also fewer openings in accommodation and food services, and in finance and insurance.
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If it's the first Friday of the month, there must be a jobs report, right? Wrong.

Mar 3, 2023
A rule that makes the underlying data more consistent has delayed February's report by a week.
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What the number of involuntary part-time workers tells us about the economy

Sep 7, 2022
The "I’d prefer a full-time gig, but I can’t find one” measure can give us a sense of how much slack or unmet potential there is in the labor market.
If involuntary part-time employment starts to tick up, that can be a leading indicator of a slowing economy.
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