• Real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.1% in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to the “second” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 33.4%.
  • Real final sales of domestic product increased 3.0%, following a 25.9% increase in the previous quarter.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.8% in the fourth quarter compared with an increase of 3.3% in the previous quarter.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.6%, compared with an increase of 3.7% in the previous quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.4%, following an increase of 3.4% in the previous quarter.
  • Real GDP decreased 3.5% in the year 2020, compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2019. Current-dollar GDP decreased 2.3%, or $498.3 billion, in 2020 to a level of $20.93 trillion, compared with an increase of 4.0 percent, or $821.3 billion, in 2019.
  • The price index for gross domestic purchases increased 1.2% in 2020, compared with an increase of 1.6% in 2019. The price index for personal consumption expenditures also increased 1.2%, compared with an increase of 1.5% in the previous year. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 1.4%, compared with an increase of 1.7% in 2019.
  • Personal income increased 10.0% in January, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month. Disposable personal income increased 11.4%, following a 0.6% increase in the previous month.  The price index for personal consumption expenditures increased 0.3% in January, following a 0.4% increase in the previous month. The core index (price index for personal consumption expenditures excluding food and energy) also increased 0.3% in January, the same increase in the previous month.  The price index (headline index) was up 1.5% from January 2020 to January 2021. The core index was also up 1.5% from January 2020.
  • Sales of new single-family houses in January were at an annual rate of 923 thousand, 4.3% above December 2020 and 19.3% above January 2020, according estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The median sales price of new houses sold in January 2021 was $346.4 thousand, up 5.3% from January 2020. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of January was 307 thousand. This represents a supply of 4.0 months at the current sales rate.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed fixed-rate mortgages moving higher but remaining at historically low levels. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.97% for the week ending February 25th, up from last week when it averaged 2.81%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.45%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.34% for the week ending February 25th, up from last week when it averaged 2.21%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.95%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 11.4% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 19, 2021.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 111 thousand to 730 thousand in the week ending February 20. The 4-week moving average was 807.75 thousand, a decrease of 20.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending February 13 was 4,419 thousand, a decrease of 101 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 4,547 thousand, a decrease of 91.5 thousand from the previous week’s revised average. The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.1% for the week ending February 13, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.
  • From September 2019 to September 2020, employment decreased in 355 of the 357 largest U.S. counties, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In September 2020, national employment (as measured by the Quarterly County Employment and Wages program) decreased to 138.5 million, a 6.8% decrease over the year. Maui + Kalawao, HI, had the largest over-the-year decrease in employment with a loss of 35.4%. Employment data in this release are presented for September 2020, and average weekly wage data are presented for third quarter 2020. Employment was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it. Among the 357 largest counties, 350 had over-the-year increases in average weekly wages. In the third quarter of 2020, average weekly wages for the nation increased to $1,173, a 7.4% increase over the year. San Mateo, CA, had the largest third quarter over-the-year wage gain at 23.2%. Nationally, the increases in average weekly wages largely reflect substantial employment loss among lower-paid industries, as was the case in the second quarter. In the third quarter, employment declines occurring in some higher-paid industries also feature significant wage increases.
  • In 2020, 17.9% of persons with a disability were employed, down from 19.3% in 2019, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For persons without a disability, 61.8% were employed in 2020, down from 66.3% in the prior year. The unemployment rates for persons with and without a disability both increased from 2019 to 2020, to 12.6% and 7.9%, respectively. Data on both groups for 2020 reflect the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and efforts to contain it.
  • There were 114,067,979 COVID-19 confirmed cases in the world, 2,530,716 deaths, and 64,418,462 recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center (access date and time: 3/1/2021, 00:23 EST). In the United States, there were 28,605,669 confirmed cases, 513,091 deaths, and no figure for recovered cases. There are recovered figures for US states, but not for the US (some states, including California, do not report it so there is no figure for the country). The real problem is that the global figure has “zero” for the US, which also makes global “recovered” figures wrong. It should be noted that there are other countries not reporting the figures for the “recovered”, the most common reason being not enough follow ups after patients are discharged from the hospital. There was a significant drop in the number of recovered for the world on 12/12/2020. It was 46,857,548 on 12/12/2020 in the World and 6,246,605 in the US. These are among the well-known data issues. The most important and pressing problem is that the world is still struggling to control the spread of the deadly virus.

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