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November 30, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The U.S. economy grew at a 2.1 percent annualized rate in the third quarter of 2015. The reading released last week was the Commerce Department’s second estimate for third quarter growth; previously, the department had said the economy expanded at a 1.5 percent annualized rate between July and September. Higher private inventory investment drove the improved reading and offset lower-than-previously-reported consumer spending. The department will finalize the third quarter growth reading next month. Additionally last week, the Chicago Federal Reserve announced its National Activity Index, a key indicator of U.S. economic growth, rose to -0.04 in October from -0.29 in September. The reading indicates growth is still below historical levels.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 260,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time for the week that ended Nov. 21, down from 272,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims increased slightly, however, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That figure climbed to 2.207 million for the week that ended Nov. 14 from 2.175 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also increased.
  • The Conference Board’s index of U.S. consumer confidence tumbled to 90.4 in November from 99.1 in October as more Americans were feeling pessimistic about the present economic situation. Conference Board Director of Economic Indicators Lynn Franco said, “The decline was mainly due to a less favorable view of the job market. … Heading into 2016, consumers are cautious about the labor market and expect little change in business conditions.” Meanwhile, the University of Michigan consumer sentiment increased to 91.3 in November from 90.0 in October.
  • The Richmond Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for the Central Atlantic region fell to -3 in November from -1 in October. Readings for shipments, employment and new orders all fell this month.
  • In other economic news: existing home sales in the United States fell 3.4 percent from September 2015 to October 2015, but increased 3.9 percent between October 2014 and October 2015; sales of new homes in the United States increased 10.7 percent in the month of October, but were up just 4.9 percent year-over-year; and U.S. personal incomes increased 0.4 percent between September and October.