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February 22, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The Metals Service Center Institute released its January 2015 Metals Activity Report last week, which showed steel shipments in the U.S. were down 3.4 percent from a year ago and aluminum shipments were down 2.7 percent. In Canada steel shipments declined 10.2 percent from January 2014 to January 2015 while aluminum shipments fell. 2.9 percent.
  • Industrial production in the U.S. rose 0.2 percent between December and January as manufacturing output increased 0.2 percent for the month and 5.6 between January 2014 and January 2015. Mining output fell one percent for the month while production at U.S. utilities increased 2.3 percent.   
  • The New York Federal Reserve’s Empire State Manufacturing Index fell to +7.8 in February from +9.8 in January. The sub-indices gauging employment and production increased, but the new orders reading declined five points. The sub-index for unfilled orders also remained in negative territory. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index fell to +5.2 in February from +6.3 in January as new orders declined. (The sub-indices for employment, shipments and the number of new orders increased in the Philadelphia region, however.)
  • The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 283,000 for the week that ended Feb. 14 from 304,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, but the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits increased to 2.425 million for the week that ended Feb. 7 from 2.367 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims declined.
  • In other economic news: the number of new homes under construction in the U.S. fell two percent between December and January, but was up 18.7 percent between January 2014 and January 2015; the U.S. producer price index dropped 0.2 percent between December and January but held steady year-over-year; and the Conference Board Leading Economic Indicators index increased 0.2 percent in January, revealing a “positive short-term outlook” for economic growth in early 2015.