Friday, June 19, 2009

Inflation Steady, Unemployment Rates Up in Most States

Two major pieces of national news were released this week: the Consumer Price Index and the unemployment rate for each state.

Consumer Price Index: This measures the level of price inflation that happens over time. In May the CPI rose by 0.3 percent (practically unchanged) and the May level was 1.3 percent lower than May 2008. In other words, on average prices for consumer goods have dropped slightly over the past year. This might sound like a nice break for consumers who are running short on cash, but deflation (negative inflation) can cause some nasty side effects in the economy. Read the full news release for more information.

State Employment and Unemployment: 48 states recorded an increase in their unemployment rate in May while 38 recorded actual decreases in employment. The unemployment rate can increase when more people, like graduating students, start looking for work - even though the total number of jobs didn't change over the month. On a regional basis, the west continued to have the highest unemployment rate in the country. Michigan ranked as the state with the highest unemployment rate, followed by Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Oregon recorded the largest increase in the jobless rate from last May, up 6.7 percentage points. Read the full news release for more information.

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