U.S. Inflation Slowed for Sixth Straight Month in December | Kanebridge News
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,480,538 (+0.01%)       Melbourne $960,899 (-0.26%)       Brisbane $805,943 (+0.49%)       Adelaide $760,890 (+0.51%)       Perth $651,708 (+0.03%)       Hobart $728,895 (+0.57%)       Darwin $613,579 (0%)       Canberra $946,216 (+2.14%)       National $956,035 (+0.37%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $696,616 (-0.38%)       Melbourne $470,588 (+0.14%)       Brisbane $450,511 (+0.19%)       Adelaide $370,041 (+0.13%)       Perth $363,377 (-0.48%)       Hobart $568,887 (+1.25%)       Darwin $342,547 (-0.28%)       Canberra $488,335 (+0.42%)       National $491,956 (+0.17%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 7,426 (+91)       Melbourne 10,303 (-71)       Brisbane 8,928 (-39)       Adelaide 2,407 (+20)       Perth 7,995 (-258)       Hobart 874 (-2)       Darwin 238 (-2)       Canberra 758 (-3)       National 38,557 (-264)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,833 (-17)       Melbourne 6,618 (-36)       Brisbane 1,828 (-2)       Adelaide 460 (-11)       Perth 2,177 (-9)       Hobart 126 (-3)       Darwin 336 (+5)       Canberra 425 (+7)       National 18,641 (-66)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $680 (+$15)       Melbourne $500 ($0)       Brisbane $560 (-$10)       Adelaide $520 (-$10)       Perth $550 ($0)       Hobart $560 (-$5)       Darwin $700 (+$5)       Canberra $700 (-$20)       National $606 (-$3)                    UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $600 ($0)       Melbourne $450 ($0)       Brisbane $498 ($0)       Adelaide $420 (-$8)       Perth $480 ($0)       Hobart $485 (+$13)       Darwin $550 ($0)       Canberra $550 (-$10)       National $514 (-$1)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 6,843 (+487)       Melbourne 6,880 (+741)       Brisbane 4,325 (+498)       Adelaide 1,251 (+157)       Perth 1,748 (+277)       Hobart 262 (+34)       Darwin 133 (+14)       Canberra 709 (+61)       National 21,516 (+2,269)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,300 (+770)       Melbourne 5,973 (+745)       Brisbane 1,753 (+273)       Adelaide 410 (+74)       Perth 731 (+171)       Hobart 119 (+13)       Darwin 249 (+21)       Canberra 641 (+63)       National 17,293 (+2,130)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 2.34% (↑)        Melbourne 2.68% (↓)       Brisbane 3.58% (↓)       Adelaide 3.60% (↓)     Perth 4.40% (↑)        Hobart 4.04% (↓)     Darwin 5.81% (↑)        Canberra 3.76% (↓)       National 3.30% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 4.47% (↑)        Melbourne 5.00% (↓)       Brisbane 5.88% (↓)       Adelaide 6.19% (↓)     Perth 7.21% (↑)      Hobart 4.59% (↑)      Darwin 8.41% (↑)        Canberra 5.89% (↓)       National 5.43% (↓)            HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 1.6% (↑)      Melbourne 1.8% (↑)      Brisbane 0.5% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 1.0% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 1.1% (↑)      Canberra 0.5% (↑)      National 1.2% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 2.3% (↑)      Melbourne 2.8% (↑)      Brisbane 1.2% (↑)      Adelaide 0.7% (↑)      Perth 1.3% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.3% (↑)      Canberra 1.3% (↑)      National 2.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 35.4 (↑)      Melbourne 35.9 (↑)      Brisbane 42.8 (↑)      Adelaide 34.8 (↑)      Perth 43.1 (↑)      Hobart 37.2 (↑)      Darwin 49.3 (↑)      Canberra 38.3 (↑)      National 39.6 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 39.7 (↑)      Melbourne 36.4 (↑)      Brisbane 43.7 (↑)      Adelaide 33.8 (↑)      Perth 46.2 (↑)      Hobart 48.9 (↑)        Darwin 45.9 (↓)     Canberra 33.7 (↑)      National 41.0 (↑)            
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U.S. Inflation Slowed for Sixth Straight Month in December

Consumer-price index rose 6.5% last month from a year earlier

By GWYNN GUILFORD
Fri, Jan 13, 2023 8:49amGrey Clock 4 min

U.S. inflation eased in December for the sixth straight month following a mid-2022 peak as the Federal Reserve aggressively raised interest rates and the economy showed signs of cooling.

The consumer-price index, a measurement of what consumers pay for goods and services, rose 6.5% last month from a year earlier, down from 7.1% in November and well below a 9.1% peak in June.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile energy and food prices, climbed 5.7% in December from a year earlier, easing from a 6% gain in November. Many economists see increases in core CPI as a better signal of future inflation than the overall CPI. Core prices increased at a 3.1% annualised rate in the three months ended in December, the slowest pace in more than a year and down from 7.9% in June.

The figures added to signs that inflation is turning a corner following last year’s surge. They also likely keep the Fed on track to reduce the size of interest-rate increases to a quarter-percentage-point at their meeting that concludes on Feb. 1, down from a half-percentage point increase in December.

U.S. stocks climbed Thursday and investors bought U.S. Treasurys, lifting bond prices and weighing on yields. The S&P 500 added 0.3%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.6%, or 217 points. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite also rose 0.6%.

Easing inflation follows several signs that U.S. economic activity cooled in late 2022. U.S. imports and exports fell in November from October, while retail sales, manufacturing output and home sales all declined. Job and wage growth slowed in December, though the labor market remained tight with historically low claims for unemployment insurance at the start of the year.

 

“The December CPI report was welcome good news after a very bad patch for inflation,” said Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank. He said consumers are getting relief from lower gasoline prices and moderating food prices, as well as declining prices for other goods.

On a monthly basis, the CPI fell 0.1% in December, due to sharply falling energy prices. That compared with a gain of 0.1% in November and 0.4% in October. Food-price increases also slowed last month. Core CPI rose 0.3% in December, up from November’s 0.2% rise but down from 0.6% increases in August and September.

Goods prices, a key driver of inflation over the past year and a half, fell for the third straight month in December as prices fell for products such as autos, computers and sporting goods.

Improving supply chains and reduced demand have relieved price pressures on goods, but services prices continued to climb in part because of wage gains in a tight labour market.

Some economists worry that still-high wage growth could keep consumers flush with cash and companies eager to raise prices to compensate, holding inflation above the Fed’s 2% target.

“Taming services inflation will be the Fed’s biggest challenge this year,” said Ryan Sweet, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.

Shelter prices rose 7.5% in December from a year earlier, the Labor Department said, and a broader measure of services prices that excludes utilities rose 7% during the same period. Both increases were the biggest since 1982.

Daycare and preschool prices rose 5.4% in December from a year earlier, the biggest increase since 2006, while those for home-health care increased 6.1% in the same period. Hospital services prices, meanwhile, jumped 1.5% in December from the prior month, the sharpest monthly increase since 2015.

Inflation remained high across the globe in November, though it abated during the month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said Tuesday. Consumer prices across the Group of 20 largest economies—which contribute four-fifths of economic output worldwide—rose 9% from a year earlier in November, down from October’s 9.5% increase, the first drop in the G-20 inflation rate since August 2021.

Prices rose sharply in 2021 as the U.S. economy rebounded from the Covid-19 pandemic, powered by pent-up consumer spending that got a boost from low interest rates and government stimulus. Snarled supply chains fueled higher prices for many goods. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 also tightened supplies of energy and other commodities, further stoking inflation worldwide.

Inflation pressures on goods dissipated last summer as supply chains improved and energy prices fell. Shipping costs from China to the West Coast are near pre pandemic levels. Gasoline prices have declined, with the national average price of regular unleaded gasoline at $3.27 a gallon on Thursday, down about 50 cents a gallon from mid-November, according to OPIS, an energy-data and analytics provider. Gasoline prices peaked in mid-June at a record $5.02 a gallon.

“Logistics prices have also slowed materially, shipping costs are back to where they were pre-Covid,” said Jake Oubina, senior economist at Piper Sandler. “The alleviation on the cost side is creating the wherewithal to discount more aggressively as we head into 2023.”

The clearest impact of Fed tightening so far is in the housing market. Existing-home sales fell in November for a 10th straight month as high mortgage rates boosted buyers’ costs.

Ian Snowden, a 33-year-old tech salesman, said the shift to remote work after the pandemic hit allowed him to move to Asheville, N.C., where he has easy access to hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities.

The move proved expensive, though. After losing out to cash buyers in bids for existing homes, Mr. Snowden signed a contract in September 2021 to buy a newly constructed property. By the time his home was completed the following June, mortgage rates had doubled. On top of that, the construction company told him that he was on the hook for an extra $25,000 to offset unexpectedly high costs for concrete, labor and other items—or he could back out of the contract.

At that point, Mr. Snowden said, he was already selling his old house and had made plans to move, so he wasn’t going to back out. “So much was already in motion,” he said. Between the higher mortgage rates and the additional costs, the monthly mortgage payment increased $200, he said.

—Austen Hufford contributed to this article.

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High-Earning Men Are Cutting Back on Their Working Hours

While most U.S. workers are putting in fewer hours, men in the top 10% of earners cut back their time on the job the most, according to a new study

By Courtney Vinopal
Fri, Jan 27, 2023 4 min

American workers have cut the number of hours they spend in their jobs since 2019, but no group has dialled back its time on the clock more than young, high-earning men whose jobs typically demand long hours.

The top-earning 10% of men in the U.S. labor market logged 77 fewer work hours in 2022, on average, than those in the same earnings group in 2019, according to a new study of federal data by the economics department at Washington University in St. Louis. That translates to 1.5 hours less time on the job each workweek, or a 3% reduction in hours. Over the same three-year period, the top-earning 10% of women cut back time at work by 29 hours, which translates to about half an hour less work each week, or a 1% reduction.

High-earning men in the 25-to-39 age range who could be described as “workaholics” were pulling back, often by choice, says Yongseok Shin, a professor of economics, who co-wrote the paper. Since this group already put in longer hours than the typical U.S. worker—and women at the highest income levels—these high earners had longer work days to trim, Dr. Shin says, and still worked more hours than the average.

The drop in working hours among high-earning men and women helps explain why the U.S. job market is even tighter than what would be expected given the current levels of unemployment and labour force participation, Dr. Shin says.

“These are the people who have that bargaining power,” Dr. Shin says of the leverage many workers have had over their employers in a tight job market. “They have the privilege to decide how many hours they want to work without worrying too much about their economic livelihood.”

The paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which isn’t yet peer reviewed, suggests high earners were more likely to benefit from flexible working arrangements, which could be a factor in reduced work hours.

Before the pandemic, Eli Albrecht, a lawyer in the Washington, D.C., area, says he worked between 80 to 90 hours a week. Now, he says he puts in 60 to 70 hours each week. That’s still more than most men in America, who averaged 40.5 hours a week in 2021, according to federal data.

Mr. Albrecht’s schedule changed when he shared Zoom school duties for two of his young children with his wife. He’s maintained the reduced hours because it’s making his relationship more equitable, he says, and gives him family time.

“I used to feel—and a lot of dads used to feel—that just by providing for the family financially, that was sufficient. And it’s just not,” Mr. Albrecht says.

The downshift documented by Dr. Shin and his colleagues occurred as many professionals have been reassessing their ambitions and the value of working long hours. Emboldened by a strong job market, millions of Americans quit their jobs in search of better hours and more flexibility.

Overall, U.S. employees worked 18 fewer hours a year, on average, in 2022 compared with 2019, with employed men putting in 28 fewer hours last year and employed women cutting their time by nine hours, data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey show. The average male worker put in 2,006 hours last year, while the average female worker logged 1,758 hours.

Separate data from the Census Bureau suggests that men with families, in particular, are working less. Between 2019 and 2021, married men devoted roughly 13 fewer minutes, on average, to work each day, according to the American Time Use Survey, which hasn’t yet published 2022 figures. They spent more time on socialising and relaxing, as well as household activities, according to men surveyed by the Census Bureau. The amount of time unmarried men spent on work changed little during that same period.

As high-earning workers in the U.S. cut back, low-wage workers increased their hours, according to Dr. Shin’s research. The bottom-earning 10% of working men logged 41 hours more in 2022, on average, than in 2019. Women in the lowest earning group boosted their hours worked by 52 last year compared with 2019.

While women work fewer hours than men, the unpaid labor they perform outside of their jobs has been well documented. Many working mothers take what’s termed a “second shift,” devoting more time outside work hours to child care and housework.

Maryann B. Zaki, a mother of three who has worked at several firms, including in big law, recently launched her own practice in Houston, giving her more control over her hours. She says she’s noticed more men in her field opting for reduced schedules, sometimes working 80% of the hours normally expected—which can range from 40 to more than 80 a week—in exchange for a 20% pay cut. For the average lawyer, that would amount to a salary reduction of tens of thousands of dollars each year; such arrangements were initially offered to aid working mothers.

Responding to new expectations of work-life balance may be particularly vexing for industries already facing staffing shortages, such as those in medicine. Dr. Lotte Dyrbye, the chief well-being officer for the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said she often hears from early-career physicians and other medical professionals who want to work fewer hours to avoid burnout.

These medical workers are deciding that to be in it for the long haul requires a day every week or two to decompress, Dr. Dyrbye says. But as staff cut back their hours, it costs medical organisations money and may compromise access to care.

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