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April 11, 2016

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Global Slowdown Will Continue To Hurt U.S. Exports

  • In a reading that was much better than anticipated, Statistic Canada announced last week that the Canadian economy added 40,600 jobs in March and that the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 7.1 percent last month from 7.3 percent in February. While full-time employment rose by 35,300 jobs and part-time employment increased 5,300, the manufacturing industry lost 31,800 total jobs, the largest drop in the sector since 2009.
  • According the Department of Commerce, the U.S. trade deficit rose to $47.1 billion in February from $45.9 billion in January. Exports rose by $1.8 billion to $178.1 billion while imports increased by $3 billion to $225.1 billion. The goods deficit increased $0.9 billion to $64.7 billion in February while the services surplus declined $0.3 billion to $17.7 billion. From February 2015 to February 2016 the overall trade deficit was up $10.8 billion, or 13.1 percent. In related news: the Federal Reserve noted last week that “the outlook for growth abroad had dimmed in recent months, suggesting a more persistent drag on growth of U.S. exports” in the coming months.
  • The Canadian trade deficit rose to $1.9 billion in February from $628 million in January, Statistics Canada said last week. Led by a 14.4 percent decline in energy product exports, overall exports declined 5.4 percent while imports dropped 2.6 percent.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States fell 1.7 percent to $454 billion from January 2016 to February 2016. Shipments fell 0.7 percent, unfilled orders were down 0.3 percent and inventories dropped 0.4 percent. At 1.37, the inventory-to-shipment ratio was unchanged between January and February.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 267,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended April 2, down from 276,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims rose slightly, as did the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits. That figure increased to 2.191 million for the week that ended March 26 from 2.172 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims fell, however.
  • In other economic news: U.S. auto sales increased at a healthy rate in March, but missed analysts’ predictions; productivity rose in 31 of 63 mining and manufacturing sub-sectors in 2015; and there were 5.4 million jobs open in the United States in February.