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July 17, 2017

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Industrial Production Speeds Up

  • Industrial production in the United States increased for the fifth month in a row in June, rising 0.4 percent from May. Manufacturing production rose 0.2 percent while mining output increased 1.6 percent. Utilities’ production was unchanged in June.
  • Imports of unwrought aluminum into the United States increased 52.1 percent between May 2016 and May 2017, from 144,546 tonnes to 219,797 tonnes. Those figures do not include imports from Canada. Canadian imports into the United States totaled 203,360 tonnes in May 2017. According to American Metal Market, “[T]he most recent totals saw a precipitous climb in shipments from Australia, which jumped from 981 tonnes in April to 30,600 tonnes in May. Other countries that recorded year-to-date highs that month were Bahrain, Qatar and Korea.”
  • The National Federation of Independent Business’s Small Business Optimism Index fell to 103.6 in June from 104.5 in May. Fewer employers told the NFIB last month that they plan to increase hiring or expect retail sales to increase. 
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 247,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended July 8, down from 250,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims increased, however, while the number of individuals who continued to file for benefits fell. That figure declined to 1.945 million for the week that ended July 1 from 1.965 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims increased slightly. In other employment news: there were 5.5 million jobs open in the United States at the end of May.
  • In other economic news: the U.S. Consumer Price Index was flat between May 2017 and June 2017, but increased 1.6 percent between June 2016 and June 2017; the U.S. Producer Price Index increased 0.1 percent from May to June and was up two percent year-over-year; real average hourly earnings in the United States increased 0.2 percent from May to June and 0.8 percent from June 2016 to June 2017.