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March 13, 2017

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

  • The U.S. trade deficit increased to $48.5 billion in January 2017 from $44.3 billion in December 2016. The value of exports and imports both increased, by $1.1 billion and $5.3 billion, respectively. The deficit was up 11.8 percent from January 2016 to January 2017. The goods deficit rose to $69.7 billion in January from $65.7 billion in December. In related news: according to the U.S. Labor Department, import prices rose 0.2 percent from January to February while export prices increased 0.3 percent.
  • The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February and the nation’s unemployment rate fell from 4.8 percent in January to 4.7 percent last month. Manufacturers added 28,000 jobs in February. The Labor Department also announced last week that 243,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended March 4, up from 223,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose, but the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits fell. That figured dropped to 2.058 million for week that ended February 25 from 2.064 million the week before.
  • In other economic news: imports of unwrought aluminum increased 63.1 percent between January 2016 and January 2017; U.S. productivity rose 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016; factory orders in the United States increased 1.2 percent from December 2016 to January 2017 while shipments rose 0.2 percent.