October 9, 2017

U.S. Economy Loses Jobs For First Time In Years While Canadian Employment Rises

  • As American Metal Market (subscription required) reported last week, imports of unwrought aluminum into the United States fell slightly from July to August, but increased 29.2 percent from August 2016 to August 2017.
  • American Metal Market (subscription required) also reported last week that “U.S. steel imports are on course to post a third consecutive decline as the spread between domestic and global prices has collapsed.”
  • The U.S. trade deficit fell to $42.4 billion in August 2017 from $43.6 billion in July 2017. Exports rose $0.8 billion to $195.3 billion while imports fell by $0.4 billion to $237.7 billion. The nation’s goods deficit fell to $64.4 billion in August from $65.3 billion in July. The total trade deficit (goods and services) was up 8.8 percent, or $29.1 billion from August 2016 to August 2017.
  • In a reading that was worse than analysts had predicted, the Canadian government announced the nation’s goods trade deficit increased to C$3.41 billion in August from C$2.73 billion in July. Exports from the country fell for the third month in a row and are down 10.6 percent from their record level, set in May. Year-over-year, exports have declined 0.2 percent. Imports, meanwhile, were up three percent between August 2016 and August 2017.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States rose 1.2 percent from July to August. Shipments rose 0.5 percent; unfilled orders were virtually unchanged; and inventories increased 0.4 percent. Click here to read the Commerce Department’s full report.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the United States increased to 60.8 in September from 58.8 in October due to improvements in the readings for new orders, production, and employment. The IHS/Markit PMI for the United States also improved, rising to 53.1 in September from 53.0 the previous month.
  • The IHS/Markit PMI for Canada increased to 55.0 in September from 54.6 in August due to improvements in output and new order growth.
  • The U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs in September even though the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent from 4.4 percent the month before. Manufacturers lost just 1,000 jobs in September. In other jobs-related news: the number of individuals who filed for federal unemployment benefits fell to 260,000 for the week that ended Sept. 30, down from 272,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also fell. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits increased, however, rising to 1.938 million for the week that ended Sept. 23 from 1.936 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims declined.
  • The Canadian economy added 10,700 jobs in September while the nation’s jobless rate held steady at 6.2 percent. Last month was the tenth month in a row of employment growth. Canada added 320,000 jobs between September 2016 and September 2017. The country’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest since October 2008.
  • In other economic news: wages in Canada increased 2.2 percent from September 2016 to September 2017, the fastest pace in more than a year; U.S. manufacturer optimism is at a record high; U.S. construction spending increased 0.5 percent between July 2017 and August 2017 and 2.5 percent between August 2016 and August 2017; and U.S. auto sales increased to 18.57 million units from 17.72 million units in September 2016.