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January 19, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. And Canada

  • According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. industrial production fell 0.1 percent in December, but was up 4.9 percent from December 2013. Manufacturing output increased 0.3 percent for the month while mining production rose 2.2 percent.
  • Manufacturing readings in various regions of the U.S. are mixed so far this month. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell from +24.3 in December to +6.3 in January as the new orders reading declined by five points. (Shipments were also down in the Philadelphia region.) The New York Federal Reserve’s index, meanwhile, increased from -1 in December to +10 in January as new orders and shipments improved.
  • Nationally, the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation’s (MAPI)business index fell to 66 percent in January from 67 three months earlier. MAPI Director of Economic Studies Dr. Donald A. Norman said, “The results of the January survey point to continued expansion of manufacturing activity heading into 2015, but at a slightly slower pace than in the latter half of 2014.”
  • While the U.S. Labor Department announced last week that workers’ real hourly earnings dipped slightly in December, it also reported the number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits increased from 297,000 for the week that ended Jan. 3 to 316,000 the following week. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased, but the number of Americans who continued to file for benefits fell from 2.475 million for the week that ended Dec. 27 to 2.424 million the week that ended Jan. 3. Finally, the Labor Department also announced last week that the number of jobs open in the U.S. increased from 4.8 million in October to 5.0 million in November, the highest level in nearly 14 years.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business’s index of small business optimism increased from 98.1 in November to 100.4 in December and is now at its highest level since October 2006. The index showed more small businesses are making capital investments and more are hiring. 
  • In other economic news: import prices fell 2.5 percent in December while export prices fell 1.2 percent; the producer price index fell 0.3 percent from November 2014 to December 2014 and 1.1 percent from December 2013 to December; and the consumer price index dropped 0.4 percent for the month, but increased 0.8 percent year-over-year.