Canadian Trade Surplus Grows But So Does U.S. Trade Deficit
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Meanwhile, here are the major headlines from the last week:
- Canada’s trade surplus is now at its highest mark in almost 14 years. The country ran a surplus of C$3.1 billion in November, up from C$2.3 billion in October. The improvement was better than analysts had predicted. Exports expanded 3.8 percent after rising 6.9 percent in October. Imports were up 2.4 percent in November. Read the full report here.
- The U.S. trade deficit expanded to $80.2 billion in November, nearly matching the record $81.4 billion that was set in September. The overall trade deficit was up from $67.2 billion in October, with imported goods and services surging $13.4 billion to a total of $304.4 billion in November. The value of exported goods and services rose only $0.4 billion to $224.2 billion. Read the full report here.
- New orders for manufactured goods in the United States rose 1.6 percent in November. Shipments increased 0.7 percent. Unfilled orders, up for the last ten consecutive months, also rose 0.7 percent while the unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio increased to 6.78 from 6.77 in October. Inventories improved 0.7 percent and the inventories-to-shipments ratio was unchanged from October at 1.46.
- The U.S. economy added 199,000 jobs in December, far below the 420,000 that analysts had predicted. Manufacturers added 26,000 jobs. The country’s unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent in December, down from 4.2 percent in November and the lowest rate since March 2019. Average hourly earnings were up 4.6 percent from December 2020 to December 2021. Read the full report here. Read more about how the omicron variant is affecting workers and job seekers here. In other U.S. employment news: 207,000 individuals filed for federal jobless benefits during the week that ended December 31, 2021, 7,000 more than the previous week. U.S. first-time unemployment claims lingered near 200,000 per week during the final two months of 2021, a level that was almost 20,000 below pre-pandemic levels despite the emergence of the omicron variant shortly after Thanksgiving. Read the U.S. Department of Labor’s full report here.
- The Canadian economy added 54,700 jobs in December after gaining more than 153,000 the month before. That number was twice the number of new jobs that analysts had predicted. Canada’s unemployment rate fell for a seventh straight month and is now below six percent. Additionally, employment in Canada is 1.3 percent above its pre-pandemic levels. Read the full report and more about Canada’s labor market here.
- The Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for December fell to 58.7 from 61.1 in November. The growth of new orders and production both slowed, but employment improved. Indicators for the backlog of orders, supplier delivery times, and customers’ inventories showed continued supply chain lags. Read the full report here.
- Canadian manufacturing activity expanded at the slowest pace in five months in December due to material shortages and delivery delays. The IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing PMI fell to 56.5 in December from 57.2 in November. Read the full report here.
- In what was the strongest increase since October 2015, private manufacturing construction spending rose 0.9 percent from October to November 2021, rising from $82.48 billion to $83.22 billion.
- A record number of U.S. workers quit their jobs in November. More than 4.5 million people quit, up from 4.2 million in October. November’s figure was the highest since the government started tracking the figure two decades ago. There are now 10.6 million jobs available in the United States.
- In other economic news: U.S. construction spending increased 0.4 percent from October 2021 to November 2021 and 9.3 percent from November 2020 to November 2021; U.S. vehicle sales rose to more than 15 million in 2021, up 3.4 percent from 2020, but still more than two million vehicles down from pre-pandemic levels.