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January 18, 2021

U.S. Industrial Production Slightly Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

 

  • According to the Federal Reserve, industrial production in the United States rose 1.6 percent in December, with gains of 0.9 percent for manufacturing, 1.6 percent for mining, and 6.2 percent for utilities. Total industrial production in December was 3.6 percent lower than it was in December 2019 and 3.3 percent below its pre-COVID-19 pandemic February reading. Click here to read the full report.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported that the manufacturing sector strengthened in its region in January as indexes for current shipments and new orders moved higher. Additionally, the indexes for unfilled orders and delivery times changed from positive to negative readings this month, suggesting decreased unfilled orders and shorter delivery times. Click here to read the full report. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said manufacturing activity in its region was little changed this month. New orders and shipments edged higher. Unfilled orders continued to move lower, delivery times continued to lengthen somewhat, and employment levels increased modestly. Click here to read the New York report.
  • The U.S. labor market is softening. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week that ended January 9, 965,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week’s level. The four-week moving average of first-time claims also rose. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits increased as well, to 5.271 million during week that ended January 2 from less than 5.1 million the week before. Some good news: the four-week rolling average of continuing claims declined.
  • Statistics Canada reported last week that the country’s energy sector declined by three percent in the third quarter after posting losses in the previous two quarters as well.
  • In other economic news: US. import prices rose 0.9 percent in December while export prices increased 1.1 percent; the U.S. Consumer Price Index increased 0.4 percent from November 2020 to December 2020 and 1.4 percent from December 2019 to December 2020; and real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees increased 0.4 percent from November to December.