June 15, 2020

Metals Shipments Decline Again In U.S., Canada


  • According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report, metal shipments in both the United States and Canada declined at substantial rates again in May due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. service center steel shipments decreased by 34.2 percent from May 2020 to May 2019. Shipments of aluminum products fell 37.8 percent from the same month in 2019. Canadian service center steel shipments dropped 40.2 percent from May 2020 to May 2019 while aluminum shipments declined 34.2 percent year-over-year.
  • The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ Small Business Optimism Index, which measures the current sentiment of small businesses based on a compilation of ten sub-indexes that ask business owners about things like their plans to increase employment, make capital outlays, increase inventories, and other matters, rose to 94.4 in May from 90.9 in April. That increase is a positive sign, but optimism still is nowhere near the level it reached before COVID-19 struck. Click here to read the full report.
  • More than 1.5 million Americans filed unemployment claims last week. That number was 355,000 fewer than the week before. Initial claims continue to decline but are still at a historically high level. In total, more than 44.2 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March.
  • In other economic news: real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees decreased 0.9 percent from April 2020 to May 2020; prices for U.S. imports increased one percent in May while U.S. export prices rose 0.5 percent in May following a 3.3-percent drop the previous month; the U.S. producer price indexfor final demand rose 0.4 percent from April 2020 to May 2020 (after plunging 1.3 percent in April) and 0.8 percent from May 2019 to May 2020; and the U.S. consumer price index fell 0.1 percent from April to May, but was up 0.1 percent year-over-year.