Some Indicators Show U.S. Growth Picking Up
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Meanwhile, here are the major economic headlines from the last week:
- Real gross domestic product in the United States increased at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 2023, down from 2.6 percent in the last quarter of 2022. In related good news: the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Activity Index, a key gauge of future growth, rose to +0.07 in April from -0.37 in March due to improvements in production. Read more here.
- U.S. manufacturers continue to struggle along with the country’s economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said its manufacturing survey for the Central Atlantic region fell from -10 in April to -15 in May due to declines in shipments and new orders. The bank also noted firms remained pessimistic about local business conditions and about future business activity. Read the full report here. Conditions did improve in the Midwest, however. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s manufacturing index increased to -1 in May, up from -10 in April. The improvement from last month was driven by both durable and non-durable goods, especially by paper, primary metal, and miscellaneous durable goods manufacturing. Read more here.
- Personal incomes in the United States increased $80.1 billion (0.4 percent at a monthly rate) in April while personal consumption indicators increased $151.7 billion, or 0.8 percent. The PCE price index, a key inflation indicator, increased 0.4 percent, meanwhile. Read more here.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 229,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended May 20, an increase of 4,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average was 231,750, unchanged from the week before. During the week that ended May 13, 1.794 million individuals continued to receive jobless benefits, a decline of 5,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell.
- In other economic news: Prices of products manufactured in Canada, as measured by the Industrial Product Price Index (IPPI), fell 0.2 percent from March 2023 to April 2023 and were 3.5 percent lower than in April 2022; retail sales in Canada fell 1.4 percent to $65.3 billion in March due to the fact that sales decreased in five of the nine subsectors; and new home sales in the United States rose 4.1 percent from March 2023 to April 2023, and 11.8 percent from April 2022 to April 2023.