January 27, 2020

Indicators Points To Lower U.S. Growth At End Of 2019, Beginning Of 2020


  • Two key indicators of economic growth in the United States fell at the end of last year. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Activity Index dropped to -0.35 in December from +0.41 the month before due to declines in production-related indicators. The report, available here, showed industrial production decreased 0.3 percent in December after rising 0.8 percent in November. Meanwhile, the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index declined 0.3 percent in December to 111.2 after rising 0.1 percent in November but declining 0.2 percent in October. The Board said the drop was due to rising unemployment insurance claims and a drop in housing permits.
  • According to Statistics Canada, Canadian manufacturing sales fell 0.6 percent in November 2019, more than expected, in November. The drop was due mainly to a decline in sales in the primary metal (down 11.7 percent), chemical, and food industries.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s manufacturing survey rose to -1 in January from -5 in December, but is still below the zero mark that separates expansion from contraction. The bank said the slight decrease in district manufacturing activity was driven by declines in nonmetallic mineral products, primary metal, fabricated metal products, computer and electronic products, beverage and tobacco products, and printing manufacturing. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of individuals who filed for unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 211,000 for the week that ended January 18 from 205,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell, however. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell to 1.731 million for the week that ended January 11 from 1.768 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose. In other employment-related news: unemployment rates were lower in 11 states in December 2019 and held steady in 35 states. Rates increased in the remain four states.
  • In other economic news: wholesale trade in Canada fell for the third time in five months in November, declining 1.2 percent due to a decline in sales of motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts; retail sales in Canada rose 0.9 percent in November 2019 due to a surge in automobile purchases; and existing home sales in the United States rose 3.6 percent from November 2019 to December 2019 and 10.8 percent from December 2018 to December 2019.