January 7, 2019

Positive U.S. Jobs Report Comes Amid Declining Manufacturing Survey


  • The U.S. economy added 312,000 jobs in the month of December and the national jobless rate, at 3.9 percent, remained at a very low level. Manufacturers added 32,000 jobs last month. Additionally, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose 11 cents for the month to $27.48. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 84 cents, or 3.2 percent. In other jobs-related news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits rose to 231,000 for the week that ended Dec. 29, 2018, up from 221,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell slightly while the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits increased to 1.74 million for the week that ended Dec. 22, up from 1.708 million the prior week. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the United States fell to 54.1 percent in December, a decrease of 5.2 percentage points from November’s of 59.3 percent. Readings for production and new orders both contributed to the softer reading. The IHS Markit reading for the United States also fell last month, declining due to declines in employment, business optimism, and new orders.
  • The IHS Markit PMI for Canada fell to 53.6 in December from 54.9 in November, signaling the weakest improvement in overall business conditions since January 2017. Output grew at its slowest rate in two years and survey respondents indicated less favorable demand conditions, particularly in the energy sector. IHS Markit also reported “global trade frictions had held back export sales during the latest survey period.”