January 4, 2016

Latest Economic News From The U.S. & Canada: Growth Numbers Disappoint

  • The U.S. economy expanded at a two percent annualized rate in the third quarter of 2015. That reading was slightly below the Commerce Department’s previous report for the quarter, which showed 2.1 percent growth from July through September. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, growth will continue to be moderate in the fourth quarter. The bank’s National Activity Index fell to -0.30 in November from -0.17 in October. The three-month moving average also fell, suggesting growth “was somewhat below its historical trend.”
  • According to MarketPulse, economic growth in Canada was flat in October as “gains in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction as well as the public sector were offset by declines in manufacturing, utilities and retail trade.” The mining, quarrying, and oil and gas industries expanded 0.7 percent while manufacturing output dropped 0.3 percent.
  • Regional manufacturing readings continued to be mixed during the month of December. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced its manufacturing index for Texas fell to -20.1 in December from -4.9 in November even though the production sub-index rose to +13.4 from +5.2. Other readings from the Texas survey were off: the new orders index fell to -8.9 in December from -1.6 in November; the unfilled orders reading dropped to -15.0 from -4.2; and the growth rate of orders fell to -14.3 from -7.3. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s survey for the Central Atlantic region, meanwhile, rose to +6 in December from -3 in November as readings for new orders, employment, capacity utilization and shipments all improved.  
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits rose to 287,000 for the week that ended Dec. 26, from 267,000 the week before. The four-week moving average also rose, as did the number of Americans who continued to file for benefits. That figure increased to 2.198 million for the week that ended Dec. 19, from 2.195 million the week before.
  • U.S. consumers felt more positive about the economy according to surveys released last month. The Conference Board index of consumer confidence rose to 96.5 in December from 92.6 in November as consumers’ feelings about the present economic situation and the future improved while the University of Michigan consumer sentiment increased to 92.6 in December from 91.3 in November.
  • In other economic news: Personal incomes in the United States increased 0.3 percent from October to November; the number of new homes sold in the United States increased 4.3 percent from October to November and 9.1 percent from November 2014 to November 2015; and sales of existing homes fell 10.5 percent from October to November and were down 3.8 percent year-over-year.