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The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its February 2023 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects that U.S. crude oil production will rise by 590,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 12.44 million bpd in 2023 and by another 190,000 bpd to 12.63 million bpd next year. Brent crude oil spot price is expected to fall from an average of $84/b in the second quarter of 2023 to $81/b in the fourth quarter – for an average $83/b in 2023 and $78/b in 2024. High demand for crude oil is expected to limit downward pressure on crude oil prices through the second quarter of 2023. The EIA raised its forecast for U.S. gasoline consumption in 2023 and 2024 by about 2% from last month’s prediction. In addition, the EAI predicted that an increase in gasoline in inventories along with a drop in crude oil prices will result in retail gasoline prices averaging near $3.20/gal in the fourth quarter of 2023, down more than 30 cents/gal from a year earlier, and to decrease further to average about $3.10/gal in 2024. U.S. natural gas consumption is expected to average 99.1 billion cubic feet in Q1 of 2023, down 5% from a year earlier. The Henry Hub natural gas spot price is forecast to average about $3 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2023, down by more than 50% from 2022. The EAI had predicted $5/MMBtu in its January STEO.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS reported 10.8 million job openings as of the last day of January, 410,000 lower than December’s upwardly revised 11.2 million reading. Job openings have been reported above the 10 million level for 8 consecutive months. Industries contributing to the decrease include construction (-240,000), accommodation and food services (-204,000), and finance and insurance (-100,000). Job openings increased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (+94,000), and in nondurable goods manufacturing (+50,000). The number of people who voluntarily left their jobs dropped (-207,000) to 3.9 million, the largest drop since May 2022. The number of people who quit their jobs for other opportunities made up 2.5% of the workforce in January, little changed from the previous month. Quits decreased in professional and business services (-221,000), educational services (-14,000), and federal government (-5,000). The number of hires increased slightly (+121,000) to 6.4 million in January. The hiring rate increased by 0.1% to 4.1%. There were 1.9 available jobs for each unemployed person in January. For CY 2022 there were 77.2M hires and 72.3M separations, resulting in a net employment gain of 4.9M.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 311,000 jobs were added as the unemployment rate rose to 3.6% in February from 3.4% the previous month. December and January’s employment readings were revised down for a combined (-34K) jobs. The number of unemployed workers dropped slightly to 5.1 million. Job gains were broad-based with leisure and hospitality adding (+105K) jobs, followed by retail trade (+50K), government (+46K), professional and business services (+45K), and health care (+44K). Employment declined in information technology (-25K), and transportation and warehousing (-22K). There were 10.8 million job openings in January – about 1.9 job openings for each person looking for a job. The labor force participation rate increased slightly to 62.5% from 62.4%, leaving it still below the pre-pandemic level of 63.4%. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.2% in February. At $33.09 average hourly earnings are up 4.6% from a year ago.
Tuesday March 14 – CPI (MoM) (February)
Thursday March 16 – Building Permits (February)
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