Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada
- The Chicago Federal Reserve Bank’s National Activity Index, a key indicator of quarterly economic growth, fell to -0.42 in March from -0.18 in February, suggesting “growth in national economic activity was somewhat below its historical trend.”
- In a preliminary report that will be revised later this month, the U.S. Commerce Department said orders for durable goods increased four percent from February to March.
- The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank’s manufacturing index fell to -7 in April – it lowest level since May 2009 – from -7 in March. The bank said, “The overall slower growth was mostly attributable to declining durable goods manufacturing, including a sharp decline in aircraft production and continued weakness in metals and machinery.”
- The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits rose to 295,000 for the week that ended April 18 from 294,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased slightly while the number of Americans who continued to receive federal jobless benefits increased to 2.325 million for the week that ended April 11 from 2.275 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell by 22,000 to 2.309 million. That figure was at its lowest level since December 2000. The U.S. Department of Labor also announced last week that 31 states lost jobs in March while 18 states added jobs. (Employment in Idaho remained steady from February to March.) The jobless rates in 23 states fell last month while rates increased in 12 more states and stayed the same in the remaining 15.
- The U.S. housing market was somewhat softer in March. While the number of existing homes sold in the U.S. increased 6.1 percent between February and March and was up 10.4 percent between March 2014 and March 2015, the number of new homes sold fell 11.4 percent between February and March. (That figure was up 19.4 percent year-over-year, however.)