April 17, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Manufacturing Sales Fall In Canada

  • Manufacturing sales in Canada fell 0.2 percent from January to February due to declines in sales in 10 of 21 industries. Analysts had predicted a drop of 0.7 percent. The negative report was due mainly to a 5.3 percent decline in vehicle sales and a five percent drop in petroleum and coal product sales. 
  • U.S. steel exports (subscription required for link) rose 1.1 percent from January 2017 to February 2017 due in large part to a significant increase in shipments to Mexico. Exports were about six percent from February 2016.
  • U.S. import prices declined 0.2 percent in March due to lower fuel import prices; export prices increased 0.2 percent.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), 234,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended April 8, down from 235,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, as did the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits. That figure dropped to 2.028 million for the week that ended April 1 from 2.035 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose slightly, however. In other employment related news: there were 5.7 million jobs open in the United States at the end of February.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business’s index of small business optimism fell slightly in March, to 104.7 from 105.3 in February. Despite the decline, NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg said, “By historical standards, this is an excellent performance, with most of the components of the Index holding their gains. The increases in capital expenditure plans and actual earnings are signs of a healthier economy, and we expect job creation to pick up in future months.”
  • In other economic news: real hourly average earnings in the United States increased 0.5 percent from February 2017 to March 2017 and were up 0.3 percent from March 2016 to March 2017; the U.S. Consumer Price Index fell 0.3 percent from February to March, but was up 2.4 percent year-over-year; and the U.S. Producer Price Index fell 0.1 percent from February to March, but increased 2.3 percent between March of last year and March of this year.