Key Economic Indicators – January 11, 2016

  • Total non-farm payroll employment increased 292 thousand in December, following an increase of 252 thousand in the previous month.   Private-sector payrolls increased by 275 thousand in the month, while government employment increased by 17 thousand.
  • The number of unemployed persons decreased by 20 thousand to 7.904 million. The unemployment rate held steady at 5.0%. The unemployment rate was 5.6% in December of 2014.
  • The average workweek of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls held steady at 34.5 hours. Average hourly earnings decreased by a cent to $25.24, while average weekly earnings decreased by $0.35 to $870.78.  Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings were up 2.5%, and average weekly earnings were up 2.2%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 10 thousand to 277 thousand in the week ending January 2. The 4-week moving average was 275.75 thousand, a decrease of 1.25 from the previous week’s average.
  • Sales of domestic cars decreased 3.3% in December, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 4.7%. Total vehicle sales were 17.2 million units in December, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 18.1 million in the previous month, and 16.8 million in December of 2014. Total vehicle sales were 17.3 million for the year 2015, up from 16.4 million in the previous year.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 0.2% in November, while shipments increased 0.2%. Year-to-date new orders decreased 6.8%, while shipments decreased 4.2%.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in November were down 1.0% from the previous month, while inventories were down 0.3%.  Inventories/sales ratio was 1.32, compared with 1.23 in November 2014.
  • Construction spending decreased 0.4% in November, following a 0.3% increase in the previous month, according to the Census Bureau. Private construction decreased 0.2% in November, while public construction decreased 1.0%. Total construction spending was up 10.5% from November 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of January 7th showing mortgage rates mixed with the 30-year fixed-rate falling below four percent to start the year. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.97% for the week ending January 7th, down from last week when it averaged 4.01%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.73%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.26% for the week ending January 7th, up from last week when it averaged 3.24%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.05%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 27.0% from two weeks earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 1st. 
  • In November, international trade deficit was $42.4 billion, $2.2 billion less than the October figure. The cumulative trade deficit for the first eleven months of 2015 was $488.0 billion, compared with a cumulative deficit of $462.8 billion during the first eleven months of 2014.
  • November consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 4.8%, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Revolving credits increased at an annual rate of 7.4%, while non-revolving credits increased 3.8%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 79th consecutive month.
  • In December, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 71st consecutive month.

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