November 7, 2016

This Week’s Top Economic Data Points: U.S. Trade Deficit Declines

  • The U.S. trade deficit fell to $36.4 billion in September from $40.5 billion in August due to a $1 billion increase in exports and a $3 billion decline in imports. The goods deficit declined to $57.5 billion from $60.1 billion. The overall deficit was down $9.2 billion, or 2.5 percent, from September 2015 to September 2016.
  • The Canadian economy expanded 0.2 percent in August, the third straight monthly gain in a row. According to Bloomberg, there were “gains in manufacturing, mining, construction and wholesale sales.” The nation is on track for 3.2 percent growth for the third quarter of 2016. Manufacturing production rose 0.3 percent in August.
  • According to the Department of Labor, U.S. economy added 161,000 jobs in the month of October while the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent from five percent in September. Despite the good news, the manufacturing industry lost 9,000 jobs last month. The DOL also announced last week that the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits in the United States rose to 265,000 for the week that ended October 29 from 258,000 the week before. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits, meanwhile, fell to 2.026 million for the week that ended October 22 from 2.039 million the week before.
  • The Canadian economy added 43,900 jobs in October while the nation’s unemployment rate held steady at seven percent. The increase in employment was due entirely to an uptick in part-time work. Overall, Canada lost 23,100 full-time positions and gained 67,100 part-time jobs.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States increased 0.3 percent from August to September while shipments rose 0.8 percent. The number of unfilled orders, meanwhile, decreased 0.4 percent while the unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio fell to 6.69 from 6.79. Inventories were virtually unchanged in September while the inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.34, down from 1.35 in August.
  • The Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the United States rose to 53.4 in October from 51.5 in September due to gains in output, new orders, and employment. Additionally, the Institute for Supply Management PMI for the United States rose to 51.9 in October from 51.4 the month before.
  • The Markit PMI for Canada, meanwhile, rose to 51.1 in October from 50.3 in September. According to Markit, “Production volumes stagnated in October, which was a key factor weighing on the headline PMI and contrasted with the sustained output growth seen during the previous seven months.”
  • The Dallas Federal Reserve’s manufacturing index for Texas rose to -1.5 in October from -3.7 in September even though the rate of new orders and output slowed somewhat last month.
  • In other economic news: U.S. personal incomes rose 0.3 percent in September; U.S. productivity rose 3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2016; and U.S. construction spending fell 0.4 percent from August 2016 to September 2016 and was down 0.2 percent from September 2015 to September 2016.