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July 29, 2019

U.S. Economic Growth Slips In The Second Quarter

 

  • The U.S. government announced last week that economic growth in the country slowed to 2.1 percent during the second quarter of 2019, down from a 3.1 percent growth rate the quarter before. Weaker private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment and residential fixed investment all contributed to the slowing rate of growth. In related news, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s National Activity Index, a key gauge of future growth, rose slightly to -0.02 in June from -0.03 in May.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City announced its manufacturing activity index fell to -1.0 in July, its lowest level since August 2016. Readings for new orders and employment both fell. The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, meanwhile, said manufacturing activity in the Central Atlantic region weakened in July. The bank’s composite index fell from +2 in June to -12 in July, its lowest level since January 2013, due to lower levels of shipments, new orders and employment — registered declines.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 206,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time during the week that ended July 20. That figure was down 6,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell, as did the number of individuals who continued to receive benefits. That number declined to 1.676 million for the week that ended July 13 from 1.689 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also was lower.
  • In other economic news: the number of new homes sold in the United States rose seven percent between May 2019 and June 2019 and was up 4.5 percent from June 2018 to June 2019; the number of existing homes sold in the United States fell 1.7 percent from May to June and 2.2 percent from year-over-year; and Canadian wholesale trade fell 1.8 percent in May after five months of gains.