Key Economic Indicators – January 12, 2015

  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 252 thousand in December, following an increase of 353 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased by 240 thousand in the month, while government employment increased by 12 thousand.
  • The number of unemployed persons decreased by 383 thousand to 8.688 million. The unemployment rate decreased to 5.6% in December, from 5.8% in November. The unemployment rate was 6.7% in December of 2013.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.6 hours. Average hourly earnings decreased by 5 cents to $24.57, while average weekly earnings decreased by $1.73 to $850.12. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 1.7%, and average weekly earnings were up 2.5%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 4 thousand to 294 thousand in the week ending January 3. The 4-week moving average for initial claims decreased to 290.5 thousand.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 2.4% in December, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 1.7%. Total vehicle sales were 16.8 million units in December, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in the previous month, and 15.4 million in December of 2013. Total vehicle sales were 16.4 million for the year 2014, up from 16.0 million in the previous year.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.7% in November, while shipments decreased 0.6%. Year-to-date new orders increased 3.4%, while shipments increased 2.5%.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in November were down 0.3% from the previous month, while inventories were up 0.8%.
  • In November, international trade deficit was $39.0 billion, $3.2 billion less than the October figure. The cumulative trade deficit for the first eleven months of 2014 was $461.3 billion, compared with a cumulative deficit of $439.0 billion during the first eleven months of 2013.
  • November consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 5.1%, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Revolving credits decreased at an annual rate of 1.3%, while non-revolving credits increased 7.5%.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 8th showed average fixed mortgage rates diving to their lowest level since May 2013. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.73% for the week ending January 8th, down from last week when it averaged 3.87%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 9.1% from two weeks earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 2nd.
  • In December, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 59th consecutive month.

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