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August 30, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The United States economy expanded at a 3.7 percent annualized rate in the second quarter of 2015, the Commerce Department revealed last Thursday. That figure, the agency’s second estimate for the second quarter, was up from the department’s 2.3 percent estimate released last month. Higher levels of nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment contributed to the improved reading.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 271,000 for the week that ended Aug. 22 from 277,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first time claims increased slightly, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive federal jobless benefits. That figure rose to 2.269 million for the week that ended Aug. 15 from 2.256 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell slightly, however.
  • The various manufacturing regions in the United States continued to show weakness last week. The Richmond Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index, which gauges activity in the Central Atlantic region, fell to 0 in August from +13 in July as the shipments sub-index lost 20 points and the new orders reading fell 16 points. The manufacturing reading for the Midwest also declined this month. According to the Kansas City Federal Reserve its composite index dropped to -9 in August from -7 in July as production, shipments and order backlog readings all softened.
  • In other economic news: The Chicago Federal Reserve’s National Activity Index increased to +0.34 in July from -0.07 in June; the number of new homes sold in the United States rose 5.4 percent from June 2015 to July 2015 and 25.8 percent from July 2014 to July 2015; and, according to the Conference Board, U.S. consumers’ confidence soared in August as Americans started to feel better about the labor market. (Unfortunately, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell in August.)