Economic Snapshot: Deficit thins, job openings at 13-year high

As the U.S. budget deficit continues to decrease, we are also seeing strength return to the labor market with record-breaking job openings this month.

Deficit narrows, revenue rises 

The U.S. budget deficit is running 24 percent narrower than last year, at $460.5 billion compared to $697.4 billion during the same period. The government posted a $94.6 billion deficit last month, $3 billion less than July 2013. The year-to-date deficit is the smallest it has been since 2008.

Revenue over the first ten months of the government’s fiscal year, which began October 1, rose eight percent compared to last year, while spending increased 1.2 percent. The Fed deposited earnings of $10.3 billion last month, bringing the fiscal year-to-date total to $84.7 billion.

Job openings at the highest level since 2001

4.7 million job openings were reported on the last business day of June, a small increase from 4.6 million in May but the highest level since 2001. Openings have risen sharply since January of this year, from 3.87 million with average monthly increases of 159,000. Unemployed workers still exceeded openings by an almost 2-to-1 margin in June, but it is a significant improvement from the 3-to-1 ratio during the previous year.

Quits are up 14 percent from June 2013 for total nonfarm and total private. Quits are voluntary separations and serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. This is the highest level since June 2008.

Import and export prices increase year-over-year

Import prices fell 0.2 percent in July but are up 0.8 percent overall year-over-year. Prices of imported motor vehicles are down 0.8 percent this month, the largest decrease since December 1992, and are down 0.9 percent YOY. Imported petroleum prices fell 1.2 percent in July after a 1.1 percent increase the previous month.

On the export side, prices are unchanged with an increase of 0.4 percent YOY. Agriculture saw the largest shift, down 2.2 percent this month.

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