Key Economic Indicators – February 8, 2016

  • Total non-farm payroll employment rose 151 thousand in January, following an increase of 262 thousand in the previous month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Private-sector payrolls increased by 158 thousand in the month, while government employment decreased by 7 thousand. 
  • The unemployment rate was 4.9% in January. The number of unemployed persons was 7.8 million, and the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was at 2.1 million.
  • The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours in January, while the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees held steady at 33.8 hours.
  • In January, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents to $25.39. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.5%.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance increased 8 thousand to 285 thousand in the week ending January 30. The 4-week moving average was 284.75 thousand, an increase of 2 thousand from the previous week’s revised average.
  • Fourth quarter productivity decreased 3.0% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 2.1% increase in the previous period. Unit labor costs increased 4.5% in the fourth quarter, following a 1.9% increase in the previous quarter. From the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2015, productivity was increased 0.3% as output increased 1.9% and hours worked increased 1.5%.
  • Unemployment rates were lower in December than a year earlier in 296 of the 387 metropolitan areas, higher in 79 areas, and unchanged in 12 areas, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
  • Personal income increased 0.3%, in December, while personal consumption expenditures held steady.
  • The price index for personal consumption expenditures decreased 0.1% in December, while the core index held steady. The price index (headline index) was up 0.6% from December 2014, while the core index was up 1.4%
  • Sales of domestic cars increased 0.5% in January, following a 3.2% decrease in the previous month. Total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales increased 1.4% in January, after a 4.7% decrease in the previous month. Sales were 17.5 million units in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 16.8 million in January of 2015.
  • New orders for manufactured goods decreased 2.9% in December, while shipments decreased 1.4%. In the year 2014, new orders were down 6.6% from the previous year, while shipments were down 4.3%.
  • December construction spending was up 0.1% from November, and was up 8.2% from December 2014.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of February 4th showed average fixed mortgage rates decreasing for the fifth consecutive week. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average 3.72% for the week ending February 4th, down from last week when it averaged 3.79%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.59%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.6% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending January 29th.
  • In December international trade deficit was $43.4 billion, up $1.1 billion from November. For 2015, the goods and services deficit was $531.5 billion, up $23.2 billion or 4.6% from 2014. As a percentage of GDP, the deficit was 3.0% in 2015, up from 2.9% in 2014.
  • December consumer credit outstanding increased at an annualized rate of 7.2%. Revolving credits increased at an annualized rate of 7.5%, while non-revolving credits increased 7.1%.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing survey indicated that the manufacturing sector contracted in January for the fourth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 80th consecutive month.
  • In January, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 72nd consecutive month.

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