November 5, 2018

Canadian Job Market, U.S. Economy Remain Strong


  • According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian economy expanded 0.1 percent in August. While manufacturing output was softer, contracting 0.6 percent for the month, the oil and gas and finance and insurance sectors grew.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the nation’s trade deficit was $54 billion in September, up $0.7 billion from $53.3 billion in August. Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $40.7 billion, or 10.1 percent, from the same period in 2017. Exports increased $143.8 billion or 8.2 percent. Imports increased $184.5 billion or 8.6 percent.
  • The U.S. economy added 250,000 jobs in October and the nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.9 percent, a near 50-year low. U.S. manufacturers added 32,000 jobs last month. In related news: 214,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended Oct. 27, down from 216,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose slightly, however, while the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell to 1.631 million for the week that ended Oct. 20, down from 1.638 million the week before and the lowest level since July 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell and was at its lowest level since August 1973.
  • The Canadian economy, meanwhile, added 11,200 jobs October and its unemployment rate fell to a near four-decade low of 5.8 percent. Year-over-year, however, average hourly wage growth in Canada slowed last month to 2.19 percent.
  • Wages for U.S. workers rose by 2.9 percent from September 2017 to September 2018, their biggest increase in a decade. In related news: U.S. productivity increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
  • The IHS Markit purchasing managers index (PMI) for the United States increased to 55.7 in October from 55.6 in September, signaling a further pickup in growth momentum and a strong improvement in the health of the manufacturing sector. The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI for the United States fell, however, due to declines in new orders and production.
  • That IHS Markit PMI for Canada fell to 53.9 in October from 54.8 in September, signaling the weakest improvement in manufacturing conditions since January 2017. Softer rates of output and new business growth were the main factors driving the decline.
  • According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Texas’ manufacturing sector expanded in October, though at a slower pace, and production declined somewhat. New manufacturing orders and employment in the sector did increase in Texas last month.
  • In other economic news: the Conference Board’s consumer confidence index rose more than 2.5 points to 137.9 in October; compensation costs for U.S. civilian workers increased 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018; and construction spending was flat in the United States from August 2018 to September 2018, but increased 7.2 percent between September 2017 and September 2018.