Boca Raton, FL – NCCI recently announced the release of the Q1 2018 edition of its Quarterly Economics Briefing, which examines the current state of the economy and implications for workers compensation insurance.
Key takeaways from this edition include:
- Employment growth in January and February is estimated at over 250,000 jobs per month, faster than any period in 2017
- Employment growth overall is projected to rise slightly to 2.0% throughout 2018 before falling in 2019
- The unemployment rate has held steady at a historically low rate of 4.1%
- Average weekly wages growth has been sluggish, but is forecast to be above 4% for this year and next year
- Medical inflation is expected to rise to 2.2% this year and to increase slowly in following years
- Both short-term and long-term interest rates have risen 0.3-0.4 percentage points in the past quarter and are forecasted to continue rising throughout the year and into 2019
Forecasts are derived from Moody’s Analytics.
Private employment growth is estimated to be 287,000 in February and 238,000 in January after an increase of 174,000 in December 2017. This would be the largest three-month gain since late 2015, despite projections of slightly slowing employment growth. The biggest sector gain was in construction, which added an estimated 61,000 jobs, the best month since 2007.
The unemployment rate has remained at 4.1% for five consecutive months, so even with healthy job growth, the labor market continues to be tight. Moody’s now forecasts employment growth to increase slightly to 2.0% in 2018 before declining in 2019. This forecast expresses two countervailing forces at work in the labor market. Jobs reports continue to be good and labor force participation has risen slightly, marking stable employment growth. But at the same time, demographic trends and low unemployment suggest that growth must slow down before too long.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew at the seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.9% in Fourth Quarter 2017. This is a slight decline from the second and third quarters, but still well above the annual growth level of 1.5% in 2016. Consumer spending rose 4.0% at an annualized rate, but rapidly increasing imports brought down final GDP growth. (Imports are subtracted from total spending to obtain domestic production.) Exports increased in the fourth quarter as well, but by a lesser amount.
Click here to read the full QEB: NCCI: Q1 2018 Quarterly Economics Briefing
Drilling Down: Employment and Workers Comp Claims in the Aftermath of Hurricanes
Last year, the United States suffered a record amount of damages from natural disasters, led by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) estimates that since 2001, the United States has incurred over $1 trillion in damages from natural disasters. This estimate is for direct effects, primarily damage to buildings, vehicles, infrastructure, and agricultural assets.
Property damage is the most obvious and straightforward measure of a disaster’s impact. But how the local economy recovers is also important, particularly to workers compensation. In this edition of the QEB, NCCI examines local economic outcomes in the aftermath of hurricanes, and focus on these questions especially:
- How do hurricanes disrupt the economies of affected states, and for how long?
- In the aftermath of a hurricane, what is the effect on employment and work injuries?
Click here to read the full “Drilling Down” brief: NCCI: Employment and Workers Compensation Claims in the Aftermath of Hurricanes