Key Economic Indicators – December 12, 2016

  • New orders for manufactured goods increased 2.7% in October, while shipments of manufactured goods increased 0.4%. Year-to-date, new orders were down 2.0% from the same period in 2015, while shipments were down 2.3%.
  • Sales of merchant wholesalers in October increased 1.4%, while inventories decreased 0.4%.  The October inventories/sales ratio was 1.30, compared with 1.33 in October 2014.
  • In October international trade deficit was $42.6 billion, $6.4 billion more than the September figure. The cumulative deficit for the first 10 months of 2016 was $409.0 billion, compared with a deficit of $417.8 billion during the first 10 months of 2015.
  • Third quarter productivity increased 3.1% (seasonally adjusted annual rate) in the non-farm business sector, following a 0.2% decrease in the previous quarter. From the third quarter of 2015 to the third quarter of 2016, productivity rose 0.6%. Unit labor costs were up 0.7% from the previous quarter, and were up 3.0% from the same quarter a year ago.
  • The labor market conditions index was 1.5 in November compared with 1.4 (revised) in October, according to the Federal reserve. The decline in the rate of unemployment was the major contributor to this improvement in the index, which is based on 19 components.
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 10 thousand to 258 thousand in the week ending December 3. The 4-week moving average was 252.5 thousand, an increase of a thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey of December 8th showed mortgage rates continued to climb and reached new highs for the year. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.13% for the week ending December 8, up from last week when it averaged 4.08%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate averaged 3.95%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 0.7% from a week earlier, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending December 7.
  • In November, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 82nd consecutive month.
  • The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment, preliminary, surged in early December to 98, just slightly below the peak since 2004.

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