December 16, 2019

Steel, Aluminum Shipments Down In United States, Canada


  • According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report, steel and aluminum shipments declined in both the United States and Canada in November on a year over year basis. Specifically, U.S. service center steel shipments in November 2019 fell 11.6 percent from November 2018 while shipments of aluminum products decreased 4.7 percent. Canadian service center steel shipments in November 2019 dropped 11.0 percent from November 2018. Shipments of aluminum products declined 3.4 percent.
  • Nonfarm business sector labor productivity in the United States decreased 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2019. Output increased 2.3 percent and hours worked increased 2.5 percent. From the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, productivity increased 1.5 percent, reflecting a 2.3 percent increase in output and a 0.9-percent increase in hours worked.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business index of small business optimism posted the largest month-over-month gain since May 2018, rising 2.3 points to 104.7 in November. Most small business owners reporting it is a good time to expand and are expecting better business conditions in the coming months. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 252,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended December 7, an increase of 49,000 from the previous week’s level of 203,000. It was the highest level for initial claims since September 30, 2017. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell to 1.667 million for the week that ended November 30 from 1.676 million the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell.
  • In other economic news: Real average hourly earnings for all employees in the United States were unchanged from October to November; U.S. import prices rose 0.2 percent in November due to higher fuel prices while the price index for U.S. exports rose 0.2 percent; after declining 0.1 percent in October; the U.S. producer price index was unchanged between October 2019 and November 2019, but increased 2.1 percent from November 2018 to November 2019; and the U.S. consumer price index increased 0.3 percent between October 2019 and November 2019 and 2.1 percent from November 2018 to November 2019.