U.S. Trade Deficit Shrinks
- The United States trade deficit fell to $49.3 billion in November, down $6.4 billion from $55.7 billion in October. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the improvement reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $6.7 billion to $71.6 billion and a decrease in the services surplus of $0.3 billion to $22.3 billion. Click here to read the full report.
- Also according to the U.S. Department of Commerce: new orders for manufactured goods in November, down during the two previous months, fell again, declining $3.1 billion or 0.6 percent to $499.2 billion. Shipments also fell for the third month in a row, dropping $3.2 billion or 0.6 percent to $505.1 billion. Unfilled orders, down two consecutive months, decreased $1.8 billion or 0.1 percent to $1.2 trillion. Inventories, which had risen each month for a full two years, fell $1.0 billion or 0.1 percent to $681.1 billion. Click here to read the full report.
- The Canadian economy added 66,800 net new jobs in January; about half of the jobs were part-time positions while the rest were full-time. All of the gain came in the services sector, which added 99,200 jobs. The goods-producing sector lost 32,300 jobs. From January 2018 to January 2019, Canada added 327,200 jobs. The nation’s jobless rate increased to 5.8 percent from 5.6 percent in December. According to Bloomberg, the reason for the “increase was more people looking for work.”
- There was positive jobs-related news in the United States as well. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 234,000 individuals filed for federal unemployment benefits during the week that ended Feb. 2, 2019, down from 253,000 the week before. The four-week moving average of first-time claims was 224,750, an increase of 4,500 from the previous week’s 220,250. The number of individuals who continued to receive benefits also declined, to 1.736 million during the week that ended Jan. 26 from 1.778 million the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing claims rose, however.
- Also according to the U.S. Department of Labor: manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2018 as output increased 2.3 percent and hours worked increased 1.0 percent. Click here to read the full report.