Economic Growth Slows In Both Canada, United States
- The Canadian economy expanded at a 0.4 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2019 after expanding 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. According toThe Financial Post, it was the “weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.” The weakness was attributable to a downturn in net trade, including lower imports and export volumes. Household spending did rise, as did business investment in equipment and machinery, which increased 8.7 percent.
- The United States, meanwhile, announced that it had reduced its economic growth reading for the first quarter of 2019 from 3.2 percent to 3.1 percent. The economy had expanded a 2.2 percent annualized rate in the last quarter of 2018. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, meanwhile, said manufacturing in the Central Atlantic region strengthened as shipments and new orders increased.
- According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the manufacturing sector in the Texas region weakened as capacity utilization fell. The employment picture in Texas remained strong, however.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits rose to 215,000 for the week that ended May 25, up from 212,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell, however, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That figured declined to 1.657 million for the week that ended May 18 from 1.683 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined.
- In other economic news: personal incomes in the United States rose 0.5 percent between March 2019 and April 2019 while personal consumption increased 0.3 percent; the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index increased to 100.0 in April from 97.2 in March; the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence improved in May, rising to 134.1 from 129.2 in April.