August 3, 2012

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports this morning that the unemployment rate increased slightly to 8.3%, compared to 8.2% in June. 

Neither the number of unemployed persons – now 12.8 million – nor the unemployment rate has changed much in 2012. 

July 9, 2012

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has announced guidance to state agencies responsible for unemployment insurance regarding short-time compensation, commonly referred to as “work sharing.” 

“Work sharing is a win-win for workers and employers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “This program will provide more flexibility to workers and employers so they may more efficiently and effectively weather the ups and downs of the economy.”

July 6, 2012

According to the Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate held at 8.2%. Nonfarm payroll employment continued to edge up in June, with 80,000 jobs added. 

Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs in June, while health care added 13,000 jobs and wholesale trade added 9,000 in June.

June 1, 2012

The unemployment rate held steady at 8.2% -- up from 8.1% in April, according to figures released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

All told, May saw an increase of 69,000 nonfarm jobs. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.

May 4, 2012

According to the Employment Situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate moved slightly to 8.1%, compared with 8.2% in March.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased with 115,000 additional jobs. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade and health care, but it declined in transportation and warehousing.

April 9, 2012

The nation’s unemployment rate took a slight turn for the better, falling to 8.2%. Also on the “Consumer watch” section, gas prices rose a penny.

April 6, 2012

The latest employment situation report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the national unemployment rate slipped to 8.2% for March, compared with 8.3% in February.

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 120,000 in March.

According to the bureau, retail trade employment fell by 34,000 in March. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-32,000) and small losses in other retail industries more than offset gains in health and personal care stores (+6,000).

March 12, 2012

On the Consumer Watch section of the Dashboard: gas price increases have slowed considerably, and unemployment holds steady. Stocks are all across the board, with Fastenal out in front.

March 9, 2012

Data released Friday morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics show the unemployment rate for February holding at 8.3%. 

The Employment Situation Summary shows employers added 227,000 jobs in the month, slightly more than expected, according to analyst forecasts. It was also the third straight month that employers added more than 200,000 jobs. 

The 8.3% unemployment rate was unchanged from January, but down from 8.9% in February 2011, and way down from 9.7% in February 2010.

February 3, 2012

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 243,000 in January as the nation's unemployment rate declined to 8.3%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The better-than-expected jobs report produced an unemployment rate that is down 0.2 percentage points from December and down 0.8 percentage points since August. It's also the lowest rate in almost three years. 

January 9, 2012

The national unemployment rate is declining, consumer confidence is rising, and stocks on the Home Channel Stock Roundup appear generally in the top right quadrant of the grid.

January 6, 2012

More jobs than expected were created in December as the national unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since February 2009.

According to the Employment Situation Summary released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll rose by 200,000 in December, and the unemployment rate declined slightly to 8.5% -- down from a revised 8.7% in November.

Analysts and economists had expected about 150,000 new jobs in December. 

December 2, 2011

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday morning reported the lowest national unemployment rate since March 2009. 

The November rate of 8.6% is down 0.4 percentage points from 9.0% in October. A year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 9.8%, according to the bureau.

The employment situation report showed that the private sector added 140,000 jobs, as employment rose in a number of service-providing industries. Government employment continued to trend down.

November 10, 2011

Home improvement retailer Lowe’s has agreed to settle a Justice Department claim that it terminated an employee without just cause after he returned from serving in the Iraq War. The consent decree, which still requires approval by a U.S. District Court in Portland, Ore., requires that Lowe’s pay the employee, Matthew King, $45,000 for back pay and liquidated damages.

Lowe’s did not respond to a request for comments.

November 4, 2011

The national unemployment rate declined ever-so-slightly to 9.0% in October, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In October, the unemployment rate was 9.1%. A year ago, it stood at 9.6%. The past several months have seen little change -- the rate has been in the 9.0% to 9.2% range since April. 

October 7, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 jobs in September, but the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1%.

Construction was one of the areas cited for job gains, according to the employment situation summary, released Friday morning. Other areas were professional and business services and health care. 

October 6, 2011

Members of the American Hardware Manufacturers Association (AHMA) expressed pessimism regarding the Obama Administration's ability to introduce a plan that will effectively address the nation's unemployment problem.

The Schaumberg, Ill.-based AHMA's monthly Confidence Index survey, which showed a slight increase in August, also asked members the following political/economic question:

September 26, 2011

A report from Freedonia Group estimates demand for countertops in the United States will reach 760 million sq. ft. in 2015 -- valued at $24.6 billion.

After falling 2.4% from 2005 to 2010, countertop demand will increase 4.8% from 2010 to 2015, according to the Cleveland-based research firm.

September 7, 2011

The "Consumer watch" section of the Dashboard shows gas prices rose a nickel last week, the unemployment rate was unchanged, and consumer confidence is plummeting.

September 5, 2011

Data released by the United States Department of Labor Friday showed the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1% in August. 

Employment in construction; trade, transportation and utilities; financial activities; and leisure and hospitality changed little over the month, according to the release. 

In August 2010, the unemployment rate stood at 9.6%.

August 29, 2011

The two-day HIRI Home Improvement Industry Summit to be held Oct. 19 to 20 in Chicago at the Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza, will kick off with a presentation examining economic turmoil and a view from Wall Street.

Josh Rosenbaum, managing director – global industrial group for UBS, will offer thoughts on the direction of the economy, the possibility of another recession, the mood on Wall Street and the unemployment situation. The presentation will address the hottest issues facing the economy and the industry from a Wall Street perspective.

August 8, 2011

A slight improvement on the unemployment meter is countered by a big move into negative territory on the Home Channel Stock Watch. 

August 6, 2011

Construction employment rose by 8,000 jobs in July, hitting a 15-month high, according to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC). But the Arlington, Va., trade group issued a “grim outlook” for public sector construction activity, which it said will “act as a drag on expanding private sector construction.” AGC officials want Congress to pass long-term funding for public projects.

July 18, 2011

The BuildFax Remodeling Index for May 2011 reported that despite high unemployment rates and falling home prices, remodeling activity has reached a new high. The index, released July 18, was reported to be up 22% with a value of 124.3 for May, the highest number since the index’s introduction in 2004. Furthermore, BuildFax reported, May marked the 19th straight month for year-over-year gains in the remodeling industry. Consumers, the data show, are continuing to invest in remodeling and are choosing to remodel rather than purchase new homes.