Latest Economic News From The U.S. And Canada
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said last week that it expects the world economy to expand 3.5 percent in 2015, down from its previous estimate, released just three months ago, that called for 3.8 percent growth. The IMF’s 2015 prediction for the U.S. improved, however, rising to 3.6 percent today from 3.1 percent in its previous estimate. The IMF predicted the Canadian economy will expand 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous 2.4 percent growth estimate, and that China, Japan and Europe will also see lower growth rates.
- The Chicago Federal Reserve’s National Activity Index fell to -0.05 in December from +0.92 the month before, indicating economic growth continued to moderate in the final month of the fourth quarter. In contrast, the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators rose to 121.1 in December from 120.5 in November. Conference Board economist Ataman Ozyildirim said, “December’s gain in the LEI was driven by a majority of its components, suggesting the short-term outlook is getting brighter and the economy continues to build momentum … Current economic conditions measured by the coincident indicators show employment and income gains are helping to keep the U.S. economy on a solid expansionary path despite some weakness in industrial production.”
- In a reading that was much worse than expected, Statistics Canada announced manufacturing sales in the country dropped 1.4 percent from October to November. A drop in primary metals sales contributed to the decline.
- The Kansas City Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell to +3 in January from +8 in December as the production, shipments and new orders indices all fell below zero for the first time in more than one year.
- The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 307,000 for the week that ended Jan. 17 from 317,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims increased, however, as did the number of continuing claims. That figure increased to 2.443 million for the week that ended Jan. 10 from 2.428 million the week before.
- In other economic news: the number of new homes under construction in the U.S. increased 4.4 percent between November 2014 and December 2014 and 5.3 percent between December 2013 and December 2014; sales of existing homes in the U.S. increased 2.4 percent for the month and were up 3.5 percent year-over-year.