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There were 7.5 million job openings available on the last day of March, a gain of +346,000 that recovered much of February’s -538,000 drop, and continuing a trend of more job openings than unemployed workers available to fill them that has lasted for well over a year. Job openings increased the most for transportation/warehousing/utilities (+87,000), construction (+73,000), and real estate (+57,000), while there were declines in federal government job openings (-15,000). Both the number of hires (5.7 million) and separations (5.4 million) remained relatively unchanged, with separations comprised of 3.4 million quits, 1.7 million layoffs and discharges, and other separations at 325,000. Over the last 12 months there have been 69.3 million hires and 66.6 million separations, resulting in a net employment gain of 2.7 million.
Imports grew to $262.0 billion (+$2.8 billion), outpacing a +$2.1 billion gain in exports to $212.0 billion to widen the trade deficit by to -$50.0 billion from a downwardly revised February deficit of -$49.3 billion. Rising oil prices helped boost industrial supplies exports by +$1.7 billion, and soybean exports were up +$0.5 billion, but exports of civilian aircraft dropped -$0.7 billion. Imports of industrial supplies were up +$2.4 billion and food imports were up +$0.7 billion, but these were offset by a -$1.1 billion drop in cell phone imports. The trade deficit with China dropped -$1.9 billion to $28.3 billion, with exports to China increasing to $10.5 billion (+$1.4 billion) and imports from China decreasing to $38.8 billion (-$0.5 billion), bringing the year-to-date deficit with China to -$80 billion compared to -$91.1 billion for the same period last year.
Wholesale inflation for April slowed to a +0.2% gain from March’s +0.6% rate, with the yearly rate remaining at +2.2%. Goods prices rose +0.3%, but service prices only ticked up +0.1%. Most of the increase in goods prices was due to a +5.9% increase in the price of gasoline, and removing the effects of food (-0.2%) and energy (+1.8%) prices slowed the rate increase to +0.1% (+2.4% Y/Y). In service prices, a +5.3% jump in prices for portfolio management and a +1.0% increase in transportation costs were offset by a -0.5% drop in trade services, which measure the changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers. Removing trade in addition to food and energy resulted in a core inflation rate of +0.4% (+2.2% Y/Y).
Wednesday May 15 – Retail Sales
Thursday May 16 – Housing Starts
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