May 17, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation reduced its economic growth projections for 2015 to 2.4 percent from the previously estimated three percent. MAPI expects the manufacturing sector to expand 2.5 percent this year, down from its previous estimate of 3.7 percent. Lower oil prices and a stronger dollar contributed to the softening outlook, MAPI said. Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service last week cut its 2015 growth estimate for Canada to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent. 
  • U.S. industrial production fell for the fifth month in a row in April, declining 0.3 percent for the month. Manufacturing output was flat while mining production fell 0.8 percent and utilities’ output fell 1.3 percent.
  • Canadian factory sales increased 2.9 percent from February to March, the best monthly reading for orders in about four years. The reading also shattered analysts’ expectations, which had predicted a one percent increase. In order to further boost the Canadian manufacturing sector, last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced plans to allow the nation’s manufacturers faster write-offs of their capital costs. Read more about that plan here.  
  • The New York Federal Reserve Bank announced last Friday that its manufacturing survey rose to +3.1 in May from -0.9 in April. The new orders index rose substantially while labor indicators also improved. Readings for prices fell, however.
  • The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 264,000 for the week that ended May 9 from 265,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell. The number of Americans who continued to receive federal jobless benefits remained at 2.229 million for the week that ended May 2, unchanged from the week before.
  • In other economic news: the U.S. producer price index fell 0.4 percent in April and was down 1.3 percent from April 2014 to April 2015; U.S. import prices fell 0.3 percent in April; and the National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Survey increased last month, but remained below its historical average. The U.S. Labor Department also announced last week that there were five million jobs open in the U.S. at the end of March.