Service Centers Steel Shipments Rise In January 2020, But Other Shipments Off
- According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s monthly Metals Activity Report, U.S. steel shipments rose in January, breaking the consistent pattern of monthly decline throughout 2019. Aluminum shipments, however, declined for the fourth consecutive month while both steel and aluminum shipments declined in Canada. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in January 2020 rose 2.2 percent from January 2019. Shipments of aluminum products fell 1.6 percent from the same month in 2019. Canadian service center steel shipments in January 2020 fell 1.9 percent from January 2019. Shipments of aluminum products decreased by 7.8 percent from the same month in 2019.
- According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing sales in the country fell 0.7 percent to $56.4 billion in December due to declines in motor vehicle assembly and the aerospace product and parts industries.
- The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index, a key gauge of future economic growth in the United States, rose 0.8 percent in January. The “strong pickup” was due to improved consumer sentiment, a lower level of unemployment claims, and more activity in the housing market.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s manufacturing index rose eight points to 12.9 due to a significant improvement in the readings for shipments and new orders. The indicator for employment also improved, but “optimism about the six-month outlook continued to be somewhat subdued, and capital spending plans remained firm.” The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, meanwhile, said its manufacturing index for its region rose nearly 20 points in February to 36.7, its highest reading since February 2017. The index for new orders increased 15 points to 33.6, its highest reading since May 2018. The current shipments index increased two points. Click here to read the full report.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 210,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended February 15, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average was 209,000, a decrease of 3,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The number of individuals who continued to file for unemployment benefits rose to 1.726 million for the week that ended February 8 from 1.701 million the week before. The four-week moving average declined, however.
- In other economic news: the U.S. Producer Price Index increased 0.5 percent for the month of January 2020 and was up 2.1 percent from January 2019 to January 2020; existing home sales in the United States declined 1.3 percent from December 2019 to January 2020, but increased 9.6 percent from January 2019 to January 2020; the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 3.6 percent from December 2019 to January 2020, but rose 21.4 percent from January 2019 to January 2020; and retail sales in Canada were virtually unchanged at $51.6 billion in December 2019.