Key Economic Indicators – December 8, 2014

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 321 thousand in November, following an increase of 243 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased 314 thousand in the month, while government employment increased 7 thousand.
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%.
  • The average workweek increased by 0.1 to 34.6 hours. Average hourly earnings increased by 9 cents to $24.66. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.1%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 17 thousand to 297 thousand in the week ending November 29. The 4-week moving average was 299 thousand, up 4.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • Third quarter productivity increased 2.3% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 2.9% increase in the previous quarter. From the third quarter of 2013 to the third quarter of 2014, productivity rose 1.0%. Unit labor costs were down 1.0% from the previous quarter, but were up 1.2% from the same quarter a year ago.
  • Sales of domestic cars increased 2.7% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales increased 4.5%. Total light vehicle sales were 17.1 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 16.2 million in November of 2013.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.7% in October, while shipments of manufactured goods decreased 0.8%.
  • In October international trade deficit was $43.4 billion, $0.2 billion less than the revised September figure. The cumulative deficit for the first 10 months of 2014 was $423.5 billion, compared with a deficit of $403.0 billion during the first 10 months of 2013.
  • October construction spending was up 1.1% from the previous month, and was up 3.3% from October 2013.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 4th showed average fixed mortgage rates moving lower. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.89% for the week ending December 4, down from last week when it averaged 3.97%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 7.3% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending November 28.
  • In October, consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 4.9%. Revolving credit increased 1.3%, while non-revolving credit increased 6.2%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector expanded in November for the 18th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 66th consecutive month.
  • In May, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 58th consecutive month.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that economic activity continued to expand in October and November.

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