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March 27, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: Metals Manufacturing Activity Improves In Midwest Region

  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s manufacturing index rose to +20 in March, from +14 in February, its highest reading since March 2011. According to the bank, production and shipments indexes both “rose considerably” and “activity in both durable and nondurable goods plants increased, particularly for metals, computer, electronic, and aircraft products.”
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), 261,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended March 18, an increase from 246,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose, but the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell. That figure dropped to 1.99 million for the week that ended March 11, from 2.025 million the week before, and was at its lowest level since May 2000. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also dropped. In other employment news, DOL announced that nonfarm payroll employment increased in 11 states in February  and was essentially unchanged in 39 states and the District of Columbia.
  • In other economic news: led by improvements in employment-related indicators, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Activity Index rose to +0.34 in February from -0.02 in January; new homes sales in the United States increased 6.1 percent between January 2017 and February 2017 and 12.8 percent between February 2016 and February 2017; and the number of existing homes that were sold in the United States fell 3.7 percent between January  and February, but were up 5.4 percent year-over-year.