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September 21, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • MSCI announced last week that U.S. service center steel product shipments fell by 8.9 percent between August 2014 and August 2015 while inventories of steel products rose 1.9 percent year-over-year. Aluminum product shipments in the United States fell 2.2 percent between August 2014 and August 2015 while inventories dropped 1.2 percent. In Canada, steel product shipments fell 6.3 percent year-over-year while inventories rose 3.4 percent. Aluminum product shipments in Canada were up 4.3 percent between August 2014 and August 2015 while aluminum product inventories rose 2.8 percent from the same month one year ago.  
  • U.S. industrial production fell 0.4 percent between July and August as manufacturing output fell 0.5 percent and mining production dropped 0.6 percent. Output at utilities increased 0.6 percent. A decline in production of motor vehicles and parts drove the decline in manufacturing production. Overall industrial production increased 0.9 percent between August 2014 and July 2015.
  • Manufacturing sales in Canada rose 1.7 percent between June and July. According to The Wall Street Journal, two-thirds of that increase was attributable to jumps in sales of auto parts and motor vehicles. Sales of food products and fabricated metals (which rose 2.3 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively) also contributed to the positive reading. The reading for July was better than the 1.1 percent rise analysts had predicted. Manufacturing inventories were up 1.1 percent between June and July.
  • Readings for various manufacturing regions in the United States have been negative so far this month. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced last week that its manufacturing index was at -14.7 in September, a figure that was little changed from August. The sub-indices for new orders (-12.9), employment (-6.2), shipments (-8.0) and inventories (-18.5) all remained well below the zero mark that indicates expansion. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced its manufacturing index fell to -6.0 in September from +8.3 in August as the shipments index fell slightly and the shipments and new orders indices continued to show only moderate expansion.
  • The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 264,000 for the week that ended Sept. 12 from 275,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That figure dropped to 2.237 million for the week that ended Sept. 5 from 2.263 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined. The U.S. Department of Labor also announced last week that 32 states added jobs in August while 18 states lost them.  
  • In other economic news: the U.S. consumer price index fell 0.1 percent from July 2015 to August 2015, but was up 0.2 percent between August 2014 and August 2015; the number of new housing units under construction in the United States fell three percent from July 2015 to August, but was up 16.6 percent year-over-year; and the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Indicators Index rose 0.1 percent to 123.7 in August, a reading that indicates “moderate” economic growth for the rest of the year.