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May 31, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • According to the Department of Commerce, the United States economy contracted at a 0.7 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2015, a reading that was worse than the department’s previous estimate. Declines in exports, nonresidential fixed investment and state and local government spending drove the negative reading.
  • Meanwhile, the Canadian economy shrank at a 0.6 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2015, the steepest contraction since the second quarter of 2009. A decline in business investment and exports drove the decline. Economists had expected a 0.3 percent decline.
  • Regional manufacturing indexes were mixed last week. The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank announced that its reading fell to -20.8 in May from -16.0 in April. Production in the Texas region fell to its lowest level in six years and shipments and capacity utilization was also down. The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank announced its manufacturing index rose to +1 in May from -3 in April as shipments increased slightly in the Central Atlantic region and new orders and capacity utilization also rose.
  • The number of Americans who applied for federal unemployment benefits for the first time increased to 282,000 for the week that ended May 23 from 275,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose, as did the number of Americans who continued to receive benefits. That figure increased to 2.222 million for the week that ended May 16 from 2.211 million the week before. Meanwhile, 40 states added jobs in April. Nine states lost jobs and employment remained the same in Hawaii.
  • In other economic news: the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased to 95.4 in May from 94.3 in April as Americans started to feel more confident about the job market; the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index fell to 90.7 in May from 95.9 in April; and sales of new homes increased 6.8 percent from March 2015 to April 2015 and 26.1 percent between April 2014 and April 2015.