November 11, 2019

Canada Loses Jobs, U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows


  • The Canadian economy lost 1,800 jobs in the month of October, including 40,900 jobs in the services sector, which includes the manufacturing and metals industry. (The manufacturing sector alone lost 23,100 jobs.) Analysts had expected a total gain of 15,900 jobs. The nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent, a rate that is close to a 40-year low. Average hourly wages in the country rose 4.3 percent in October from a year before.
  • The U.S. trade deficit in goods and services for September 2019 fell 4.7 percent or $2.6 billion, to $52.5 billion, from August due to the fact that imports declined more than exports. The overall deficit was 5.4 percent higher than it was at the same point last year, however. The drop from August to September reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $2.7 billion to $71.7 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.1 billion to $19.3 billion. U.S. goods deficit with China reached $96 billion in the third quarter of 2019, down 16.9 percent from the same period in 2018. Merchandise imports from China fell 4.9 percent from the prior month to $37 billion, the lowest in more than three years, while U.S. exports to China dropped 10 percent and were at a five-month low.
  • New orders for U.S. manufactured goods fell $2.9 billion, 0.6 percent, to $496.7 billion in September. Shipments, down three consecutive months, decreased $1.1 billion, 0.2 percent, to $501.1 billion. Unfilled orders were virtually unchanged while inventories, up nine of the last ten months, rose $2.2 billion, 0.3 percent, to $697.9 billion. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.39, unchanged from August.
  • The number of jobs available in the United States fell to seven million in September 2019, down from about 7.3 million the month before. The number of jobs open in the manufacturing sector fell slightly, to 469,000 in September from 470,000 the month before. The number of available manufacturing jobs has averaged around 485,000 for the last year.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor also reported last week that 211,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended November 2, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average was 215,250, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 1.689 million during the week that ended October 26 was 1,689,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average was 1,686,750, unchanged from the previous week.
  • Business sector labor productivity in the United States declined 0.3 percent from the second quarter of 2019 to the third quarter due to the fact that output increased 2.1 percent and hours worked increased 2.4 percent. Labor productivity rose 1.4 percent from the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019. Manufacturing labor productivity fell 0.1 percent at the annual rate in the third quarter, extending the 2.4 percent decline seen in the second quarter.