Aluminum Shipments Up In Canada, United States While Steel Shipments Mixed
- According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report, steel shipments increased in Canada in September 2019 after 13 consecutive months of decline, and the decline in U.S. steel shipments was less than other months in 2019. Aluminum shipments increased slightly in both countries. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments fell 1.1 percent from September 2018 to September 2019 while shipments of aluminum products increased by one percent from the same month in 2018. Canadian service center steel shipments in September 2019 increased by 2.3 percent from September 2018. Shipments of aluminum products increased by 0.8 percent from the same month in 2018.
- According to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), U.S. small-business owners were feeling more pessimistic in September. The organization’s optimism index fell1.3 points to 101.8 in September, the third drop in four months, and one of the lowest readings of the Trump presidency. Bloomberg Government subscription required) said, “The report adds to signs that the economy is cooling but not yet sliding into recession.” Twenty-two percent of respondents said the next three months is a good time to expand, the lowest since February, while only a net 9 percent said they expect business conditions to be better six months from now, the lowest since January.
- The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that 210,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time ever during the week that ended October 5. That figure was down from 220,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose, however. The number of individuals who continued to received benefits also rose, to 1.684 million for the week that ended September 28 from 1.655 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also increased.
- In other economic news: U.S. import prices rose 0.2 percent in September while export prices fell by the same amount; the U.S. consumer price index did not change from August 2019 to September 2019, but was up 1.7 percent from September 2018 to September 2019; and the U.S. producer price index for final demand decreased 0.3 percent from August to September, but rose 1.4 percent year-over-year.