Economic Data Points for Week of 8/18
- The U.S. Federal Reserve announced last Friday that industrial production rose 0.4 percent between June 2014 and July 2014. Manufacturing production was up one percent while mining output improved 0.3 percent. Utility output declined 3.4 percent.
- According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing sales in that country increased 0.6 percent from May 2014 to June 2014 while inventories rose 0.5 percent and new orders jumped 0.6 percent. (Unfilled orders dropped 0.3 percent.) Sales in the chemical manufacturing industry led the increase and, excluding sales from that sector, overall sales fell one percent for the month. Despite June’s tepid results, overall manufacturing sales were up five percent for the first six months of 2014 from the same period the year before.
- According to the U.S. Labor Department, import prices in the U.S. fell 0.2 percent from June 2014 to July 2014 as fuel costs declined. Export prices remained flat for the month. Meanwhile, the Producer Price Index was down 0.1 percent in July, but up 1.7 percent year-over-year.
- The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits increased to 311,000 for the week that ended Aug. 9 from 290,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased slightly as did the number of Americans who continued to apply for benefits. That figure rose to 2.544 million for the week that ended Aug. 2 from 2.519 million the week before. Additionally, there were 4.7 million jobs open in the U.S. at the end of June, the highest figure in 13 years.
- In other economic news: the New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State manufacturing index fell to +14.7 in August from +24.7 in July as the new orders, unfilled orders and employment indices all declined; the National Federal of Independent Business’s small business outlook index ticked up in July as more small business executives said it was a good time to expand; and a preliminary reading of the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index revealed consumers were less optimistic at the beginning of August.