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May 31, 2016

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points

  • The U.S. economy expanded at a 0.8 percent annualized rate in the first quarter of 2016 after expanding 1.4 percent in the final quarter of 2015. The reading for the first quarter was slightly better than the 0.5 percent expansion the Commerce Department announced last month. The figure was revised upward due to a smaller decrease in private inventory investment.
  • Regional manufacturing readings for May continued to be soft. The Richmond Federal Reserve announced its manufacturing index fell to -1 in May from +14 in April as the shipments reading dropped 22 points and the new orders reading declined 18 points. Employment levels remained “modest.” The Kansas City Federal Reserve, meanwhile, announced that, at -5, its index remained largely unchanged from the previous two months, but is still in the range that indicates overall contraction in the sector. The production index fell three points, but readings for shipments, news orders, employment, and order backlog indexes were at low, but stable, levels.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 268,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended May 21, down from 278,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, but the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits increased. That figure rose to 2.163 million for the week that ended May 14 from 2.153 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also rose.
  • In other economic news: new home sales in the United States rose 16.6 percent between March 2016 and April 2016 and were up 23.8 percent between April 2015 and April 2016; the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index increased to 94.7 in May from 89.0 in April.