February 13, 2018 | by    

This Week’s Top Economic News: Steel Imports Into The United States Jump Nearly 19 Percent In January

  • American Metal Market reported last week that the value of steel imports into the United States increased 18.9 percent between December 2017 and January 2018 and 3.6 percent between January 2017 and January 2018.
  • In December 2017, the U.S. trade deficit hit its highest level since the 2008 global recession. Stronger global growth increased demand for American-made products, but robust U.S. consumer spending boosted imports even more. December exports totaled $203.4 billion, $3.5 billion more than November exports. Imports in December were $256.5 billion, $6.2 billion more than November imports. The overall goods and services gap rose to $53.1 billion in December from $50.4 billion in November. The goods deficit increased $2.6 billion to $73.3 billion.
  • Statistics Canada reported last week that Canada’s trade deficit rose to $3.2 billion in December 2017, a much higher reading than analysts had predicted. Imports increased 1.5 percent to $49.7 billion due in part to a hike in imports of industrial machinery, equipment, and parts, while exports rose just 0.6 percent to $46.5 billion.
  • According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian economy shed a total of 88,000 jobs in January, the largest monthly decline in employment since 2009. The drop, the first since July 2016, was attributable to a loss of 137,000 part-time jobs.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 221,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended February 3, down from 230,000 the week before. The four-week rolling average of continuing claims also fell and was at its lowest levels since March 1973. The number of individuals who continued to file for benefits also declined, falling to 1.923 million for the week that ended January 27 from 1.946 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose, however. The Labor Department also reported last week that there were 5.8 million jobs open in the United States in December.