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October 2, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Economy Expands While Canada’s Growth Is Flat

  • The U.S. economy grew at a 3.1 percent annualized rate in the second quarter of 2017 after expanding at a 1.2 percent rate in the first three months of the year. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, the improvement reflected positive contributions from personal spending, nonresidential fixed investment, exports, federal government spending, and private inventory investment.
  • Despite a two percent increase in wholesale trade, the Canadian economy did not grow at all in July. Economists had predicted a 0.1 percent bump in the nation’s gross domestic product. The manufacturing sector contracted by 0.4 percent.
  • The Dallas Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index rose to 21.3 in September, its highest level in seven months, despite a slight decline in production and new orders. The index’s employment reading was at its highest mark since April 2014. The Richmond Federal Reserve’s manufacturing reading rose to +19 in September from +14 in August due to a “sizable” increase in shipments. The Kansas City Federal Reserve’s index also improved, rising to +17 in September from +16 in August due to increases in activity at both durable and non-durable goods plants.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 272,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the week that ended Sept. 23, an increase of 12,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also increased while the number of continuing claims fell to 1.934 million for the week that ended Sept. 16 from 1.979 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also fell.
  • In other economic news: personal incomes in the United States increased 0.2 percent from July to August; the number of new homes sold in the United States fell 3.4 percent between July 2017 and August 2017 and 1.2 percent between August 2016 and August 2017; the Conference Board index of consumer confidence fell to 119.8 in September from 120.4 in August; and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment reading fell to 95.1 in September from 96.8 in August.