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July 13, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its quarterly economic growth estimates last Thursday. Analysts now predict the world economy will expand 3.3 percent this year, down from the 3.5 percent growth rate the IMF predicted in its last report, released in April. The IMF blamed an “unexpected output contraction in the United States” for the less optimistic reading. The U.S. economy is now predicted to expand just 2.6 percent this year, instead of the 3.1 percent previously predicted. The IMF also predicted the Canadian economy will expand just 1.5 percent this year, down from the 2.2 percent estimate issued in April. (The Canadian economy is expected to expand 2.1 percent in 2016, slightly better than the previous estimate of two percent.) The IMF’s prediction for Chinese growth – 6.8 percent – was the same as it was in April.   
  • The overall U.S. trade deficit increased to $41.9 billion in May, from $40.7 in April as exports dropped by $1.5 billion and imports declined just $0.3 billion. The goods deficit rose to $61.5 billion in May from $60.3 billion in April. 
  • The Canadian trade deficit, meanwhile, increased to $3.34 billion (in Canadian dollars) in May from $2.99 billion in April. Exports fell 0.6 percent, the fifth straight monthly decline. (Exports were down 6.7 percent from May 2014.) Imports increased 0.2 percent. The nation’s cumulative trade deficit for the year now stands at $13.6 billion, a figure that is higher than at any time since 2009.
  • According to the Department of Labor, the number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits increased to 297,000 for the week that ended July 7 from 282,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first time claims also increased, as did the number of Americans who continued to receive benefits. That figure climbed to 2.334 million for the week that ended June 27 from 2.265 million the week before. The Labor Department also announced last week that there were 5.4 million jobs available in the United States in May, the highest reading since December 2000 when the department started keeping track of this statistic.
  • According to the U.S. Commerce Department, wholesale sales increased 0.3 percent between April and May, but fell 3.8 percent between May 2014 and May 2015. Sales of durable goods fell 0.1 percent for the month, but increased 1.6 percent year-over-year. Total inventories were up 0.8 percent for the month and five percent year-over-year. The inventory-to-sales ratio increased to 1.29 in May 2015 from 1.19 the previous May.