March 15, 2015

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada

  • The National Association of Manufacturers/IndustryWeek survey for the first quarter of 2015 found 88.5 percent of manufacturing executives are positive about their companies’ future outlook. Those surveyed believe sales will increase an average 4.3 percent over the next 12 months and predict capital spending will rise 2.3 percent. Only 1.9 percent said their companies would add workers over the next year, however. Meanwhile, the National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index was relatively flat in February as fewer entrepreneurs said they planned to add employees or expect the economy to improve in general.
  • The Royal Bank of Canada cut its 2015 growth estimate for the country last week. The bank now expects the economy to grow 2.4 percent this year, down from its previous estimate of 2.7 percent. Oil price declines were blamed for the negative revision.
  • In a report that was somewhat better than analysts had predicted, Statistics Canada reported last week that the Canadian economy lost 1,000 jobs in February as the nation’s unemployment rate increased from 6.6 percent to 6.8 percent. (Analysts had predicted a 5,000-job loss.) The country’s natural resources sector continued to lose jobs (16,900 in February and 26,000 combined in January and February) as oil prices kept up their decline. Canadian manufacturers shed 19,900 jobs last month.
  • The number of Americans who filed for federal unemployment benefits fell to 289,000 for the week that ended March 7, from 325,000 the week before. The four-week average of first-time claims also fell, as did the number of people who continued to receive jobless benefits. That figure declined to 2.418 million for the week that ended February 28 from 2.423 million the week before. The four-week average of continued claims was up, however. Also last week: the U.S. Department of Labor said there were five million jobs open in January, up from 4.9 million the month before.
  • In other news: manufacturing technology orders fell 32.9 percent from December 2014 to January 2015 and were down 4.8 percent between January 2014 and January 2015; the U.S. Producer Price Index fell 0.5 percent between January 2015 and February 2015 and 0.6 percent between February 2014 and February 2015; and U.S. retail sales fell 0.6 percent from February to January.