Orders For U.S. Manufacturing Goods Up Slightly
- New orders for manufactured goods in the United States fell $2.6 billion, or 0.5 percent, in February 2019 from the previous month. Shipments rose $2 billion (0.4 percent) while unfilled orders fell $3.6 billion, or 0.3 percent. Inventories rose $2 billion (0.3 percent) to $687.8 billion.
- The National Federation of Independent Business’ (NFIB) Small Business Optimism Index rose 0.1 points to 101.8 in March. The NFIB said this reading was at “historically strong level and “anticipates solid growth, keeping the economy at ‘full employment’ with no signs of a recession in the near term.” Readings for labor, earnings, sales, and anticipated future expansion all improved.
- According to the U.S. Labor Department, the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell to 196,000 during the week that ended April 6 – a figure that was at its lowest level of first-time claims since October 1969 and was down from 204,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also declined, as did the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits. That figured declined to 1.713 million for the week that ended March 30, down from 1.726 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell. In related news: the Labor Department also announced there were more than 1 million jobs left unfilled in the United States in the month of February.
- In other economic news: the U.S. Producer Price Index rose 0.6 percent from February 2019 to March 2019 and 2.2 percent for the 12 months ended in March, the largest 12-month rise since December 2018; and the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent from February 2019 to March 2019 and 1.9 percent from March 2018 to March 2019.