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The United States economy.

Total personal income for the United States increased 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1991 compared to this period a year ago. Consumers appear to be willing to spend more as was evidenced in the first quarter of this year. The Index of Consumer Sentiment has been moving upward since January 1992 when it registered 67.5, to a high in April of 77.2.

Non-ag employment fell 0.3 percent in the first quarter of 1992 compared to a year ago. This indicator has shown some growth since the previous quarter with average employment of 113,972,000 in the first quarter compared to 113,569,000. Figures released for April rose to 114,465,000. Continued employment growth is needed to sustain expansion in the economy.

The unemployment rate for the nation was up from a year ago-7.8 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to 7.0 percent. The May 1992 edition of DRI's Review of the U.S. Economy emphasizes that "employment is the key to the recovery over the coming months." They predict that the" unemployment rate should peak in early 1992, but will decline very slowly because of the sluggishness of the expansion."

The U.S. Consumer Price Index (CPI-U) increased 3.0 percent in May compared to a year ago. This remains well below levels of the past several years.
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Publication:South Dakota Business Review
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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