Steel, Aluminum Shipments Drop In United States, Canada
- According to the Metals Service Center Institute’s Metals Activity Report, steel and aluminum shipments declined in both the U.S. and Canada in February compared to February 2019. U.S. service center steel shipments in February 2020 decreased by 2.4 percent from February 2019. Shipments of aluminum products decreased by 1.5 percent from the same month in 2019. Canadian service center steel shipments in February 2020 decreased by 5.9 percent from February 2019. Shipments of aluminum products decreased by 0.8 percent from the same month in 2019.
- Industrial production in the United States rose 0.6 percent in February after falling 0.5 percent in January. Manufacturing output edged up 0.1 percent in February while the index for mining declined 1.5 percent and the reading for utilities jumped 7.1 percent.
- According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing sales in the country fell 0.2 percent to $56.1 billion in January. Sales were down in nine of 21 industries, led by lower sales in the transportation equipment (-6.0 percent) and petroleum and coal products (-5.2 percent) industries.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced that its manufacturing index fell 34 points to -21.5, its lowest level since 2009. The new orders index dropped to -9.3, pointing to a decline in orders, and the shipments index fell to -1.7. Optimism about the six-month outlook fell sharply, with firms less optimistic than they have been since 2009.
- Jobless claims are rising in the United States and Canada due to COVID-19. More than half a million Canadians filed for unemployment benefits last week. In the week ending March 14, 281,000 individuals in the United States filed for federal jobless benefits, an increase of 70,000 from the previous week’s level of 211,000. Click here to read the full report.
- In other economic news: retail sales rose 0.4 percent to $52 billion in January; existing home sales in the United States rose 6.5 percent from January 2020 to February 2020 and 7.2 percent from February 2019 to February 2020; and the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 5.5 percent from January to February, but increased 13.8 percent year-over-year.