June 22, 2020

Industrial Production Rises In United States


  • Total industrial production in the United States increased 1.4 percent in May due to the fact that many factories resumed at least partial operations following suspensions related to COVID-19. Still, total industrial production in May was 15.4 percent below its pre-pandemic level in February. Manufacturing output—which fell sharply in March and April—rose 3.8 percent in May; most major industries posted increases, with the largest gain registered by motor vehicles and parts. The indexes for mining and utilities declined 6.8 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.
  • As Reuters reported, Canadian wholesale trade plunged a record 21.6 percent in April as the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses across the country. Reuters said, “The data was much worse than expected” since analysts had forecast a decline of 12.6 percent. In volume terms, wholesale sales plummeted 21.5 percent to the lowest level since September 2009, a record monthly decline.
  • Also last week: Statistics Canada announced last week that manufacturing sales in the country fell 28.5 percent to $36.4 billion in April, following a 9.8 per cent decline in March when the pandemic first began to take hold. According to one source, Statistics Canada did say many manufacturers resumed production during the second week of May after full or partial shutdowns in April.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that its manufacturing index rose 48 points to negative 0.2 in June. A reading close to zero indicates steadying conditions. Economists had expected a reading of -30. Thirty-six percent of manufacturers reported that conditions were better in early June than in May, up from 15 percent in the prior survey. Firms also were optimistic that conditions would be better in six months, with the index for future conditions rising 27 points to 56.5, its highest level in more than a decade.
  • Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said manufacturing conditions in the region showed signs of improvement this month. Its current indicators for general activity, new orders, and shipments returned to positive territory. The bank’s manufacturing employment index remained negative but increased for the second consecutive month. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 1.5 million individuals filed initial applications for unemployment benefits during the week that ended June 12. That figure was higher than economists’ projections of 1.3 million new jobless claims, but marked the 11th week of declines in the number of initial jobless claims. As of June 6, about 20.5 million Americans were receiving unemployment benefits.