Key Economic Indicators – December 7, 2015

  •  Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 221 thousand in November, following an increase of 298 thousand in the previous month. Private-sector payrolls increased 197 thousand in the month, while government employment increased 14 thousand. 
  • The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0%.
  • The average workweek decreased by 0.1 to 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings increased by 4 cents to $25.25. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.3%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 9 thousand to 269 thousand in the week ending November 28. The 4-week moving average was 269.25 thousand, a decrease of 1.75 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • Third quarter productivity increased 2.2% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 3.5% increase in the previous quarter. From the third quarter of 2014 to the third quarter of 2015, productivity rose 0.6%. Unit labor costs were up 1.8% from the previous quarter, and were up 3.0% from the same quarter a year ago.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 4.4% in November, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 0.4%. Total light vehicle sales were 18.1 million units in November, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.0 million in November of 2014.
  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 1.5% in October, while shipments of manufactured goods decreased 0.5%. Year-to-date, new orders were down 7.1% from the same period in 2014, while shipments were down 4.3%.
  • In October international trade deficit was $43.9 billion, $1.4 billion more than the September figure. The cumulative deficit for the first 10 months of 2015 was $445.0 billion, compared with a deficit of $422.8 billion during the first 10 months of 2014.
  • October construction spending was up 1.0% from the previous month, and was up 13.0% from October 2014. Private construction was up 0.8% in October, while public construction was up 1.4%.
  • The Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator for the housing sector, increased 0.2% to a reading of 107.7 in October. The index was up 3.9% from October 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 3rd showed average fixed mortgage rates declining for the third consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.93% for the week ending December 3, down from last week when it averaged 3.95%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.89%.
  • Mortgage applications edged down 0.2% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending November 27.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in November for the first time in 36 months, since November 2012, while the overall economy grew for the 78th consecutive month.
  • In November, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 70th consecutive month.
  • The FED’s “Beige Book” indicated that economic activity increased at a modest pace in most regions of the country since mid-October.

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