April 8, 2019

U.S. Economy Adds Jobs While Canadian Economy Sheds 7,200 Jobs


  • The U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs in the month of March, a reading that was higher than analysts had predicted, while the nation’s jobless rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent. Employment in the manufacturing sector declined by 6,000 jobs, but over the 12 months prior to February, the sector had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month. In other employment-related news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time ever fell to 202,000 for the week that ended March 30, its lowest level since December 1969 and down from 212,000 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 figure fell to 1.717 million for the week that ended March 23, from 1.756 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims also declined.
  • The Canadian economy lost 7,200 jobs in March and the nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent. Goods-producing industries added 1,600 jobs – “mostly in manufacturing,” according to Reuters. The services sector lost 8,800 jobs.
  • Manufacturing sales in the United States rose 0.3 percent from December 2018 to January 2019 and 2.8 percent between January 2018 and January 2019. Inventories were up 0.8 percent for the month and 5.3 percent year-over-year.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index (PMI) for the United States increased to 55.3 in March from 54.2 in February due to improvements in readings for new orders, production and employment. The IHS Markit PMI for the United States fell, however. That report was the weakest since June 2017 and “notably softer than the trend seen for 2018.” The first quarter average of manufacturing activity for 2019 was the lowest since the third quarter of 2017.
  • The IHS Markit PMI for Canada fell to 50.5 in March from 52.6 in February, signaling the slowest upturn in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector since September 2016. Weaker production growth was a key factor behind the decline.
  • In other economic news: major auto makers on Tuesday posted declines in U.S. sales for the first quarter; light vehicle sales in Canada fell 2.5 percent between March 2018 and March 2019; and construction spending in the United States rose one percent between January 2019 and February 2019 and 1.1 percent between February 2018 and February 2019.