MetroIntelligence Economic Update by P. DUFFY
December Producer Price Index rose 9.7 percent year-on-year, largest annual rise in series
The Producer Price Index for final demand increased 0.2 percent in December after rising 1.0 percent in November and 0.6 percent in October, and was up 9.7 percent in 2021, the largest calendar-year increase since data were first calculated in 2010. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services rose 0.4 percent in December following a 0.8-percent increase in November. In 2021, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 6.9 percent, following a 1.3-percent advance in 2020.
Initial unemployment claims rise 23,000 to 207,000, but still at low levels
In the week ending January 8, initial unemployment claims were 230,000, an increase of 23,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 207,000. Continued claims during the week ending January 1 were 1,559,000, a decrease of 194,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for insured unemployment since June 2, 1973 when it was 1,556,000. The total number of continued weeks claimed for benefits in all programs for the week ending December 25 was 1,948,624, an increase of 226,264 from the previous week.
Residential Building Worker Wages Grow Rapidly
According to last Friday’s BLS report, average hourly earnings for residential building workers were $28.74 in November 2021, increasing 7% from $26.87 a year ago. During the COVID-19 pandemic recession in March and April 2020, average hourly earnings for residential building workers rose about 2%, compared to a year ago. Since June 2020, average hourly earnings’ year-over-year growth rates for residential building workers have trended up and reached 8% in October 2021, the highest year-over-year gain since February 2019.