EconoFacts

April 23, 2014 - New home sales across the country were way down in March, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures. The rate of sale was down nearly 15 percent compared to February, and by 13.3 percent over the previous 12 months. That said, the Illinois Association of REALTORS reports that even though the number of sales is down because of tight inventory, the median price of Illinois homes went up.

April 18, 2014 - The number of unemployed people in Illinois dropped by 17,100, which the Dept. of Employment Security says was enough to lower the unemployment rate from 8.7 percent to 8.4 percent. Figures show the number of paying nonfarm positions was down by 3,200 over the month, but up by 29,400 on the year.

April 16, 2014 - The number of new home construction projects that started in March was up more than 11 percent compared to the same time in 2013, according to the latest Census Bureau figures.

April 15, 2014 - Americans worked more hours in March, which lowered the monthly real earnings average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time, consumer prices shot up by about a percent and a half thanks largely in-part to the spike in natural gas prices. In the Midwest alone, natural gas prices went up by nearly 30 percent in just one month's time.

April 8, 2014 - A survey of state finances by the U.S. Census Bureau found that 48 states saw increased tax revenue in fiscal year 2013 compared to the year before. As a whole, income tax revenues were up by more than 10 percent and sales tax receipts brought in nearly four percent more than in 2012.

April 8, 2014 - The number of job openings is up, but the rate at which people are leaving their positions or being fired remains flat compared to the start of the year, says the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics.

April 7, 2014 - So far 2014 has not been the year for economic growth in Illinois, according to measurements taken by the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Economic growth has dropped every month since January.

April 3, 2014 - Mortgage rates continued climbing last week. A 30-year fixed mortgage averaged an interest rate of 4.41 percent with the 15-year counterpart was at 3.47 percent.

April 3, 2014 - A combination of decreasing exports and increasing imports lead to a nearly $4 billion jump in the nation's trade deficit between January and February, says the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

April 2, 2014 - The price of new manufactured goods orders increased by more than two percent in February, which should offset losses suffered at the close of 2013 and in January.

April 2, 2014 - Spending on new private construction projects jumped by more than 13 percent in February compared to a year ago, says the U.S. Census Bureau. Public construction spending dropped by one percent on the year.

March 31, 2014 - There was slow economic growth throughout the Midwestern United States in February, but it was still growth according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Illinois and Indiana had better months than other states in the region.

March 26, 2014 - Home sales, both nationwide and in Illinois, were down in February. Illinois sales were off by more than six percent compared to the year before. The Illinois Association of REALTORS says the downward trend was primary caused by cold temperatures and low inventory.

March 26, 2014 - Figures from the U.S. Census Bureau shows new orders for manufactured goods increased by more than two percent in February, which offsets the loss suffered in January. The increase appears to have been influenced by the 13 percent uptick in new defense orders.

March 24, 2014 - Economic activity increased throughout February, says the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

March 24, 2014 - Illinois's unemployment rate remained at 8.7 percent  in February, according to figures and revisions released by the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security. The Department increased the number of working Illinoisans in January by more than 9,000 than what was initially reported, and says another 6,400 positions were added to the total nonfarm payroll.

The figures come shortly after the Department announced unemployment rates had decreased in 11 of the state's 12 metropolitian areas over the year. Unemployment was up in all areas on a month-to-month basis, but the Department believes that is because more people have resumed their job search.

March 13, 2014 - At the close of 2013, private sector employers spent around $29.63 an hour per employee with nearly 70 percent of that going towards salary costs and the rest for benefits. During the same timespan, state and local governments spent $42.89 an hour per employee.

March 13, 2014 - Just in time for warmer temperatures and the start of the busier time of year in real estate, Freddie Mac reported mortgage rates have started to increase again. A 30-year fixed rate loan averaged 4.37 percent interest rate while 15-year mortgages were at 3.38 percent.

March 13, 2014 - Fuel prices jumped by more than five percent in February, but all other U.S. import prices dropped slightly. Import prices are down compared to a year ago, but so too are the price of U.S. exports.

March 11, 2014 - Wholesale trade receipts were down nearly two percent in January than they were at the close of 2013, but that was still an improvement compared to figures from 12 months ago.

March 11, 2014 - The number of job openings remained steady at four million in January, which is as it was for much of 2013. The U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics reports also hiring was slightly more common than the rate at which individuals were seperated from their jobs.

March 7, 2014 - Orders for manufactured goods slipped by another $2.2 billion in January, the U.S. Census Bureau reports. The loss follows a major decrease reported last month for December and came at the same time the trade deficit rose by $100 million as imports rose slightly and exports remained mostly flat.

March 7, 2014 - Economists at the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security are struggling to explain why the state's unemployment rate dropped to 8.7 percent in January at the same time nearly 27,600 extra people went without a paycheck compared to December. The Department reported heavy job losses in the trade, transportation, and utilities industry and revised December figures to reflect 7,300 fewer jobs than were initially reported.

Meanwhile, 175,000 more people in the U.S. received paychecks in February, which surpassed many expectations. Looking ahead to March, the number of individuals filing for unemployment insurance dropped to 323,000 people, which was well below the four-week moving average.

March 5, 2014 - Consistent with many other economic reports, the Institute for Supply Management says non-manufacturing businesses posted economic growth throughout February albeit less than what was reported in January.

March 5, 2014 - Employers added 139,000 nonfarm private sector jobs in February, which is "well below the average over the last 12 months," says ADP. Just less than 60,000 of those jobs popped up within small businesses.

February 28, 2014 - Mortgage rates stayed relatively unchanged over the last week, according to the latest figures from Freddie Mac. Long-term fixed loans averaged at 4.37 percent - and increase of 0.04 percentage points.

February 26, 2014 - New home sales jumped by nearly 10 percent between December and January alone, says the U.S. Census Bureau. The Bureau estimates nearly 468,000 homes were sold at the opening of 2014, which is a 2.2 percent increase over the same time period twelve months ago.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Association of Realtors reported a slow down in home sales throughout the Land of Lincoln brought on by low inventory and abnormally cold weather.

February 21, 2014 - As they have many times in the recent past, the average hourly earnings in the U.S. increased in January just as much as the Consumer Price Index. However this time prices in the Midwestern Index mostly kept up with national prices.

February 14, 2014 - The price of U.S. imports fell off in the twelve months leading up to January, but so too did exports, according to the latest indexes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

February 13, 2014 - The value of good farmland in Illinois is up by roughly 10 percent when compared to a year ago, says the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which based its calculation on responses to a survey.

February 13, 2014 - Manufacturing, retail, and food services all flashed receipts that were more than three percent higher than they were at the close of 2012, according to seperate reports issued by the U.S. Census Bureau.

February 11, 2014 - Wholesale trade ended 2013 on somewhat of a high note, according to figures calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau while inventories remained relatively unchanged.

February 11, 2014 - Possibly fueled by discouraging jobs reports that caused the stock markets to slip, consumer confidence has slipped in recent weeks, according to samples taken by Gallup.

February 6, 2014 - Long-term mortgage rates continued their dive last week, says Freddie Mac. Fixed 30-year loans averaged interest rates below 4.25 percent while 15-year mortgages were worth 3.33 percent. The announcement came amid concerns over the labor market, which economists at ADP estimate grew in January at rates seen throughout 2013.

February 6, 2014 - Business sector productivity increased in the fourth quarter of 2013, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

February 6, 2014 - The same day the Import-Export Bank announced U.S. exports were valued at $2.3 trillion, which set a new record, the U.S. Census Bureau's latest numbers how the nation's trade deficit increased by $4.1 billion to $38.7 billion.

February 6, 2014 - An illustration put together by GOVERNING magazine shows Illinois residents traded Cook County for one of its immediate surrounding counties at a faster rate than most other county-to-county movements throughout the country at the start of the decade.

Using U.S. Census Bureau data, the magazine showed more than 8,400 people moved from a Cook County address to DuPage County, which is the seventh largest of such movements in the nation. There is also a large volume of Cook County dwellers now residing in Kane County and Lake County, Indiana.

The Cook County exodus paled in comparison to those who moved away from Los Angeles County in California.

January 24, 2014 - Nearly 3,000 fewer people received a paycheck from a nonfarm job in December than in November, says the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security. However the number of people categorized as unemployed fell off by 2,000 which lowered Illinois's unemployment rate to 8.6 percent.

Construction, educational and health services, and government industries fell off the most while employers in manufacturing, trade, transportation and utilities, and professional and business services reported larger payrolls.

Today's announcement also revised November numbers to include roughly 1,300 additional jobs that were not included in last month's calculations.

January 24, 2014 - Union membership in the workforce remained steady in 2013, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly 7.2 million public sector workers were part of a union. Meanwhile, roughly 7.3 million private sector workers were also part of a union. That equates to a more than 35 percent participation rate in the public sector and less than seven percent in the private sector.

Union membership in 2013 had a weekly median salary of $950, which was $200 higher than non-unionized workers.

In Illinois, the number of employees that belonged to a union was up by 50,000 in 2013. Those represented by a bargaining unit also jumped by 30,000. The state lost 89,000 workers during the same 12-month period.

January 23, 2014 - Mortgage rates are down for the third consecutive week, says Freddie Mac. The average 30-year fixed loan is back down below 4.4 percent while 15-year mortgages sank to 3.44 percent. Five-year adjustable mortgages gained points.

January 23, 2014 - Measurements taken by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago show economic growth continued through November and into December. Economic activity had returned to levels from before the temporary downtown in 2012.

January 21, 2014 - The International Monetary Fund porjects the U.S. economy to grow by 2.8 percent in 2014, which is higher than most other major economies.

January 17, 2014 - There were roughly four million jobs available on the last business day of November, says the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics.

January 17, 2014 - Fewer residential building permits were issued last month than in November, but overall the issuance rate was higher than in 2012, says the U.S. Census Bureau. The number of residential projects completed in December was up by more than 11 percent on the year.

January 16, 2014 - Fixed mortgage rates fell off last week, says Freddie Mac. New 30-year fixed rates are now averaging at 4.41 percent while its 15-year counterpart stood at 3.45 percent. Interest rates as a whole increasedmore than one percent in 2013.

January 16, 2014 - Real earnings were offset in December by an increase in the Consumer Price Index, according to the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics. In the Midwest, cost of living was down slightly compared to November but higher than December 2012.

January 15, 2014 - A late surge in the cost to produce crude-based goods may be what caused the Producer Price Index to finish 2013 1.4 percent higher than it did in 2012.

January 14, 2014 - General merchandise sales caneled out the last two months of gains in December despite the holiday season, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Census Bureau. Other areas of retail and food sales showed improvement last month. Auto sales gained roughly six percent in 2013.

Meanwhile, manufacturing sales mostly flatlined throughout the year and remain at mid-2012 levels.

January 14, 2014 - Import prices finished 2013 down by just under one and a half percent, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fuel imports were down, though not nearly as much as they were in 2012 as the market rebounds from the recession. Exports lost value - especially agricultural products, which were down by more than six percent after strong gains brought on by drought in 2012.

January 7, 2014 - Another rise in exports and decrease in imports led to a trade deficit of $34.3 billion in November, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. The trade deficit for December may be on the decline, too, as the Institute for Supply Management reported continued service sector growth and as the global economy expands as a whole.

December 31, 2013 - Home prices continue to near pre-recession levels, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.

December 31, 2013 - Consumer confidence ended 2013 higher than it was in January thanks to a strong surge that began in early November.

December 30, 2013 - After months of being a statistical drag, Illinois added more to the overall Midwestern economy than any other state in November, according to measurements taken by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

December 19, 2013 - Nearly 567,500 people in Illinois were identified as unemployed by the Illinois Dept. of Employment Security in November, according to the Department's latest figures. If those preliminary estimates holdup, it means a decrease of nearly 12,000 people when compared to revised numbers from October.

Illinois's unemployment rate is reportedly now 8.7 percent.

The Department said the state's nonfarm workforce increase by 9,400 people last month with most of the growth taking place in the Construction, Education and Health Service, and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities fields. Meanwhile, Professional and Business Services and Financial Activities employers cut thousands of positions.

December 19, 2013 - The number of homes for sale in Illinois is down by nearly 20 percent compared to last year, according to research conducted by the Illinois Association of REALTORS. Coorespondingly, the Association also found that the number of homes sold was down over the last year as well though not as dramatically.

Economists have suggested existing home sales have been stunted by owners hoping to regain value lost during the Great Recession. The most recent home value figures are more than seven percent higher than they were in 2012.

December 19, 2013 - Personal incomes grew at a faster rate in at least 40 other states than in Illinois during the third quarter, according to the U.S. Bureau for Economic Analysis.

December 18, 2013 - Fewer residential building permits were issued in November than October, according to the latest count by the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the rate at which permits have been issued this year is up by nearly 8 percent compared to 2012.

December 18, 2013 - America's tourism industry made gains over the summer months of 2013, but the rate of spending was not as high as it had been in the spring, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau for Economic Analysis. Tourism prices during the same time period increased by more than 3.5 percent.

December 17, 2013 - The productivity rate of American workers outpaced the rate at which the number of hours worked increased in the third quarter of 2013, says the U.S. Bureau for Labor Statistics. However one exception is within the manufacturing industry where, despite a more than one percent increase in the number of hours worked, overall productivity was down slightly.

Similarly, a summary of after-tax profits during the third quarter showed mixed results. Manufacturers made more money when compared to last year's figures and receipts from the second quarter.

December 17, 2013 - The Consumer Price Index remained mostly unchanged in November from figures reported in October, which allowed the average hourly earnings rate to increase slightly.

December 10, 2013 - Standard & Poor's has revised its outlook on Illinois's general obligation bonds from "Negative" to "Developing." The credit rating house said the revision was prompted after the Legislature and Governor approved a series of changes to public employee pension systems. The opinion also reaffirmed the state's A- rating.

December 10, 2013 - Wholesale trade increased by 6.4 percent in October compared to the same time a year ago, says the U.S. Census Bureau. These number may continue to increase as the Institute for Supply Management expects manufacturing revenue to grow by more than four percent in 2014.

December 10, 2013 - On the heels of the news that The Conference Board put its Employment Trends Index at more than five percent higher tha