February 6, 2018 | by    

This Week’s Top Economic News: Canadian Economy Expands At Fastest Rate In Six Months

  • The Canadian economy expanded 0.4 percent in November, the best rate in six months, and is on track to grow about two percent in the fourth quarter.
  • The U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs in the month of January and the nation’s unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent. Manufacturers added 15,000 jobs last month. In related news: 230,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended January 27, down 231,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, but the number of continuing claims rose. That figure climbed to 1.953 million during the week that ended January 20 from 1.94 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also increased.
  • U.S. labor productivity decreased 0.1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2017. Output increased 3.2 percent and hours worked rose 3.3 percent.
  • The Institute for Supply Management Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 59.1 in January from 59.3 in December due to declines in new orders, production, and employment. The IHS/Markit PMI for the United States, however, increased to 55.5 in January 55.1 in December.
  • The IHS/Markit PMI for Canada increased to 55.9 in January from 54.7 in December due to higher levels of production, new orders, and employment.
  • New orders for U.S. manufactured goods increased $8.5 billion, or 1.7 percent, to $498.2 billion in December. Shipments rose $2.9 billion (0.6 percent) to $495.4 billion. Unfilled orders increased $7.1 billion (0.6 percent) to $1.1 trillion. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.59, up from 6.58 in November. Inventories rose $3.3 billion, or 0.5 percent, to $669.2 billion. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.35, unchanged from November.
  • In other economic news: the Dallas-area manufacturing sector remained strong in January due to an increase in shipments; U.S. auto sales slowed in January due to the colder weather; the Conference Board’s index of consumer confidence rose to 125.4 in January from 123.1 in December while the University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading fell slightly; U.S. construction spending increased 0.7 percent between November 2017 and December 2017 and 2.6 percent between December 2016 and December 2017.