Economic News Of Note: Healthy Growth In U.S., Canadian Metals Shipments
- The Metals Service Center Institute announced last week that U.S. service center steel shipments increased by 13 percent from April 2017 to April 2018 while steel inventories rose 8.5 percent. U.S. shipments of aluminum products rose 15.7 percent year-over-year and aluminum inventories were up 8.3 percent. Canadian service center steel shipments, meanwhile, increased by 14.8 percent from from April 2017 to April 2018 while steel inventories dropped 5.1 percent. Canadian shipments of aluminum products increased 13.9 percent year-over-year and aluminum inventories increased 3.8 percent.
- According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. industrial production rose for the third month in a row, increasing 0.7 percent in April. Manufacturing output improved 0.5 percent and the indexes for mining and utilities moved up 1.1 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. Total industrial production in April was 3.5 percent higher than it was a year earlier.
- Manufacturing sales in Canada increased 1.9 percent in March while new orders declined 0.7 percent.
- The manufacturing industry in the northeastern part of the United States remains strong this month. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced last week that its manufacturing index rose four points to +20.1 in May. Readings for new orders and employment both improved while the shipments index held steady. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, said its manufacturing survey also rose, to +34.4 in May from +23.2 in April. Readings for shipments, new orders, and employment all improved in the Philadelphia region.
- The number of individuals who filed for U.S. federal unemployment benefits increased to 222,000 during the week that ended May 12, up from 211,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell, however, and was at its lowest level since mid-December 1969. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits also fell, declining to 1.707 million for the week that ended May 5 from 1.794 million the week before. The number of continuing claims was at its lowest since December 1973. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dropped and also was at its lowest level since December 1973.
- In other news: three U.S. states added jobs in April 2018 while employment remained steady in the remained 47 states; the Conference Board Leading Economic Index rose 0.4 percent in April to 109.4, a reading that indicates the U.S. economy will grow solidly in the second half of 2018; the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 3.7 percent from March 2018 to April 2018, but increased 10.5 percent between April 2017 and April 2018.