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December 14, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The percentage of manufacturers who said they have a positive outlook for their own company’s growth plummeted to 59.6 percent in October from 67.3 percent in September in the most recent National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Outlook Survey. The overall outlook index dropped to 40.5 in October from 45.8 in September. This latest report is the first in three years to show contraction in the manufacturing sector. The NAM report notes, “[A] number of headwinds that have held manufacturing back year-to-date, including a stronger U.S. dollar, economic weaknesses in key export markets and reduced commodity prices.”
  • According to the Department of Labor, 282,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended Dec. 5, up 13,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased, as did the number of individuals who continued to claim federal jobless benefits. That figure rose to 2.243 million for the week that ended Nov. 28 from 2.161 million the week before. The Labor Department also announced last week that there were 5.4 million jobs available in the United States at the end of October.
  • Canadian capacity utilization stood at 82 percent in the third quarter of 2015, up from 81.4 percent in the second quarter. An improvement in the oil and gas sector drove the rise while manufacturing capacity expanded to 83.1 percent in the period from June to September.
  • In other good news last week: the Royal Bank of Canada announced the nation’s economy had improved in the latter half of 2015 and that the bank now expects economic growth to increase to 2.2 percent in 2016 and then 2.7 percent in 2017. RBC Chief Economist Craig Wright said, “A surge in exports, firm consumer spending and housing market activity supported a boost in the Canadian economy halfway through 2015 … Moving into 2016, we expect to see sustained economic growth.”
  • In other economic news: the U.S. producer price index rose 0.3 percent from October 2015 to November 2015 and was up 1.1 percent between November 2014 and November 2015; U.S. import prices fell 0.4 percent for the month of November while export prices fell 0.6 percent; and the National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index fell to 94.8 in November from 96.1 in October as entrepreneurs felt less optimistic about future sales and the economy in general.