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September 5, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Economic Growth Strengthens In U.S. And Canada

  • The United States economy expanded at a three percent annualized rate in the second quarter of 2017, up from a 1.2 percent growth rate in the first quarter, and better than the 2.6 percent expansion the federal government previously had reported. Increases in personal consumption and in nonresidential fixed investment were the main drivers behind the improvement. 
  • The Canadian economy expanded at a 4.5 percent annualized rate in the second quarter of 2017, up from 3.7 percent in the first quarter and the best quarterly increase since 2002. A 4.6 percent expansion in household spending and a 9.6 percent increase in exports from the second quarter of 2016 to the second quarter of 2017 helped drive the impressive report.
  • The U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs in July while the nation’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent in June. Manufacturers added 36,000 in July. In other employment news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time rose to 236,000 for the week that ended Aug. 26 from 235,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose slightly. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell to 1.942 million during the week that ended Aug. 19, from 1.954 million the week before.
  • The IHS/Markit PMI for the United States fell to 52.8 in August from July’s reading of 53.3 due to slower growth in employment and export orders. The Institute for Supply Management’s PMI for the United States increased, however, rising to 58.8 percent in August from the July reading of 56.3 percent. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas also announced last week that growth in the manufacturing industry in Texas slowed slightly in August.
  • The IHS/Markit PMI for Canada fell to 54.6 in August from 55.5 in July despite the fact that the number of new orders improved and the fact that manufacturers hired more workers.
  • In other economic news: personal incomes in the United States increased 0.4 percent from June to July 2017; U.S. auto sales for the first eight months of 2017 were lower than during the same period last year; the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to 122.9 in August from 120.0 in July; and construction spending in the United States fell 0.6 percent from June 2017 to July 2017, but increased 1.8 percent from July 2016 to July 2017.