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June 8, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released its revised annual economic growth estimates last Wednesday. The OECD now expects the world economy to expand at a 3.1 percent rate in 2015, down from its 3.6 percent prediction issued just three months ago in March. The organization expects the world economy to expand 3.8 percent in 2016, down slightly from the previous estimate of 3.9 percent. The 3.6 percent figure for 2015 is lower than the average global growth rate since the Great Recession ended. The OECD said it expects the Canadian economy to expand 1.5 percent this year, down from its 2.2 percent prediction in March. It expects the U.S. economy to expand 2.8 percent this year, down from its previous 3.1 percent estimate. U.S. growth will tick up slightly in 2016, to three percent, the OECD predicts.
  • The U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in May as the nation’s unemployment rate ticked up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in April. Manufacturers added 7,000 jobs in May. The Labor Department also announced last week that 276,000 Americans filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended May 30, down from 284,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims increased slightly while the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell to 2.196 million for the week that ended May 23, from 2.226 million the week before. The continuing claims figure was at its lowest level since November 2000.
  • The Canadian economy added 58,900 jobs in May while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.8 percent. A 21,500 job increase in the manufacturing sector helped drive the positive reading, as did a 20,700 increase in health care jobs. The country’s natural resources sector lost 2,400 jobs.
  • The U.S. trade deficit fell to $40.9 billion in April from $50.6 billion in May as exports increased about one percent and imports fell about three percent. The goods deficit fell to $60.7 billion in April from $70 billion the previous month. The U.S.’s trade gap with China was down 15.2 percent to $26.5 billion in April.
  • The Canadian trade deficit fell to $2.97 billion (in Canadian dollars) in April from a record $3.85 billion in March. The April reading was higher than the $2.15 billion gap analysts had predicted. The country continued to run a trade surplus with the U.S. in April. (That figure rose to $2.42 billion from $1.62 billion in March.) Energy exports were down 31.6 percent between April 2014 and April 2015.
  • Driven by a decline in transportation orders, overall U.S. factory orders fell 0.5 percent from March to April. Additionally, durable goods shipments fell 0.1 percent, the number of unfilled orders was virtually unchanged and inventories were up 0.2 percent.
  • The Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) increased to 52.8 percent in May from 51.5 percent in April as the indices for new orders, prices, inventories of raw materials and employment all improved. (Production declined, however.) The readings for primary metal and fabricated metal products also strengthened last month. The Markit PMI for the U.S. fell slightly, however, declining to 54.0 in May from 54.1 in April. Meanwhile, the Royal Bank of Canada PMI increased to 49.8 in May from 49.0 in April as export sales stabilized and production increased.
  • In other economic news: U.S. auto sales rose two percent between May 2014 and May 2015; U.S. construction spending increased 2.2 percent between March 2015 and April 2015 and advanced 4.8 percent between April 2014 and April 2015; U.S. productivity fell at a 3.1 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2015; and U.S. personal incomes increased 0.4 percent in April.