• New orders for manufactured goods increased 0.6% in November, following a 2.1% decrease in October. Shipments decreased 0.6%, following a 0.1% decrease in October. Inventories, down following twenty‐four consecutive monthly increases, decreased 0.1%.This followed a 0.2% October increase.  The inventories‐to‐shipments ratio was 1.35, up from 1.34 in October. Year-to-date, new orders for manufactured goods increased 7.9% and shipments increased 7.3% from the same period in 2017.
  • Sales of domestic cars increased 0.8% in January, while total light vehicle (cars and light trucks) sales decreased 5.1%. Total vehicle sales were 16.6 million units in January, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, compared to 17.1 million in January 2018.
  • In November international trade deficit was $49.3 billion, $6.4 billion less than the revised October figure. November exports were $209.9 billion, $1.3 billion less than October exports. November imports were $259.2 billion, $7.7 billion less than October imports. For Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $51.9 billion, or 10.4%, from the same period in 2017. Exports increased $157.1 billion or 7.3%. Imports increased $208.9 billion or 7.9%.
  • December consumer credit outstanding increased at an annual rate of 5.0%. Revolving credits increased 2.0%, while non-revolving credits increased 6.0%. The increase in consumer credit was 4.9% in the year 2018.
  • Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.3% during the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as output increased 2.3% and hours worked increased 1.0%.  From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, manufacturing productivity increased 0.7%, reflecting a 2.8% increase in output and a 2.1% increase in hours worked. Annual average productivity increased 0.6% from 2017 to 2018.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted: “Due to the lapse in appropriations for some federal agencies providing source data, nonfarm business productivity and all unit labor costs data are not available for fourth quarter and annual average 2018. These data will be released in the future.”
  • The advance figure for initial claims for unemployment insurance decreased 19 thousand to 234 thousand in the week ending February 2. The 4-week moving average was 224.75 thousand, an increase of 4.5 thousand from the previous week’s average. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment (ongoing) during the week ending January 26 was 1,736 thousand, a decrease of 42 thousand from the previous week’s revised level. The 4-week moving average was 1,741.25 thousand, an increase of 4.25 thousand from the previous week’s average.
  • The results of Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed 30-year fixed mortgage rate fell to a 10-month low. 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.41% for the week ending February 7th, down from last week when it averaged 4.46%. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.32%. 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.84%, down from last week when it averaged 3.89%. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.77%.
  • Mortgage applications decreased 2.5% from a week earlier week, according to data from Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Weekly Applications Survey for the week ending February 1.
  • In January, the Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) non-manufacturing survey results indicated growth in the non-manufacturing business activity for the 108th consecutive month. In January, eleven non-manufacturing industries reported growth and seven industries reported contraction.

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