Recent Canadian, U.S. Manufacturing Readings Mixed
- According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing sales in the country fell 0.2 percent in September due to a decline in the petroleum and coal product (-1.9 percent) and motor vehicle parts (-4.3 percent) industries. While the reading was not positive, it is worth noting that economists had expected an overall decline of 0.6 percent.
- Regional manufacturing readings in the United States have been mixed so far this month. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s manufacturing index remained unchanged in November at -3 even though the volume of new orders and shipments rose. Chad Wilkerson, a vice president and economist at the bank, said, “Regional factory activity continued to edge down in November, driven again by deterioration in durable goods production … But considerable more firms expect to add workers than reduce their workforce over the next year.” The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s survey stayed in positive territory, meanwhile, but also indicated that storm clouds could be on the horizon. The bank noted the new orders, shipments, and employment indicators decreased from their readings last month.
- The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced last week that 227,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended Nov. 16, the same number that filed for benefits for the first time the previous week. The four-week moving average of claims was 221,000, an increase of 3,500 from the previous week’s average. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits rose to 1.695 million for the week that ended Nov. 9 from 1.683 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose. The DOL also announced that only four states added jobs in October.
- In other economic news: the Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index declined 0.1 percent in October to 111.7 following a 0.2 percent declines in both September and August; the number of new homes under construction in the United States rose 3.8 percent between September 2019 and October 2018 and 8.5 percent from October 2018 to October 2019; the number of existing homes sold in the United States increased 1.9 percent from September 2019 to October 2019 and 4.6 percent from October 2018 to October 2019; and the University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose to 96.8 in November from 95.5 in October.