Housing Starts Declined 17.0 Percent in February
According to the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, residential construction activity plummeted 17.0 percent in February. New housing starts was the slowest since January 2014, down from just over 1 million in January to nearly 900,000 in February. Despite the fall in both single-family and multi-family housing starts, housing permits in February increased slightly over the past month and the data seems to indicate that the sharp housing starts reduction in February might be temporary. To read more, visit here.
Michigan Created the Most Net New Manufacturing Jobs in January
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Michigan added an additional 4,900 manufacturing workers in January, due largely to strong demand for motors vehicles and parts. Georgia, Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Kentucky also experienced significant employment gains in January. The lowest unemployment rates in the nation belong to North Dakota (2.8 percent) and Nebraska (2.9 percent). The highest unemployment rates are found in the District of Columbia (7.7 percent) and Mississippi (7.1 percent). To read more, visit here.
Ozone Comment Period Draws to a Close
A flurry of activity has poured in as the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) public comment period on its proposed revision to ground-level ozone standards comes to a close. The EPA is considering a shift from the current standard of 75 parts per billion to 65-70 parts per billion, in what is being touted as the most expensive regulation in American history. To read more about the EPA's proposed ruling and potential impact, visit here.
Leading Economic Index Reports Modest Growth in February
The Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose 0.2 percent in February, which is coincidentally the same pace as January, according to the Conference Board. This modest rate of growth is attributed to weaknesses aboard, a stronger U.S. dollar and weather factors. A deceleration in new orders brought down the February number, but there were also positive factors contributing to the increase, including building permits, consumer confidence, favorable credit conditions, the interest rate spread and the stock market. To read more, visit here.