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U.S. First-Time Unemployment Claims, Retail Sales Both Unexpectedly Decline

iHub News
Latest News
February 15 2024 4:07AM

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined in the week ended February 10th, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Thursday.

The report said initial jobless claims fell to 212,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 220,000.

Economists had expected initial jobless claims to inch up to 220,000 from the 218,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the less volatile four-week moving average rose to 218,500, an increase of 5,750 from the previous week’s revised average of 212,750.

A separate report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday showed retail sales in the U.S. fell by much more than expected in the month of January.

The Commerce Department said retail sales slid by 0.8 percent in January after climbing by a downwardly revised 0.4 percent in December.

Economists had expected retail sales to edge down by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.6 percent increase originally reported for the previous month.

Excluding sales by motor vehicle and parts dealers, retail sales fell by 0.6 percent in January after rising by 0.4 percent in December. Ex-auto sales were expected to rise by 0.2 percent.

The Labor Department also released a report on Thursday showing an unexpected increase U.S. import prices in the month of January.

The report said import prices climbed by 0.8 percent in January after falling by a revised 0.7 percent in December. Economists had expected import prices to come in unchanged, matching the flat reading originally reported for the previous month.

The Labor Department said export prices also advanced by 0.8 percent in January following a revised 0.7 percent decrease in December.

Export prices were expected to edge down by 0.1 percent compared to the 0.9 percent slump originally reported for the previous month.

Manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia area has seen a significant turnaround in the month of February, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia revealed in a report released on Thursday.

The Philly Fed said its diffusion index for current general activity surged to a positive 5.2 in February from a negative 10.6 in January, with a positive reading indicating growth. Economists had expected the index to rise to a negative 8.0.

Looking ahead, the Philly Fed said the survey’s broad indicators for future activity rose, suggesting more widespread expectations for overall growth over the next six months.

A separate report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on Thursday showed regional manufacturing activity has contracted at a substantially slower rate in the month of February.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index skyrocketed to a negative 2.4 in February from a negative 43.7 in January, although a negative reading still indicates contraction. Economists had expected the index to surge to a negative 15.0.

Looking ahead, the New York Fed said the six-month outlook improved, though optimism remained subdued.

At 9:15 am ET, the Federal Reserve is due to release its report on industrial production in the month of January. Industrial production is expected to rise by 0.3 percent in January after inching up by 0.1 percent in December.

The National Association of Home Builders is scheduled to release its report on homebuilder confidence in the month of February at 10 am ET. The housing market index is expected to increase to 46 in February after jumping to 44 in January.

Also at 10 am ET, the Commerce Department is due to release its report on business inventories in the month of December. Business inventories are expected to climb by 0.4 percent in December after edging down by 0.1 percent in November.

The Treasury Department is scheduled to announce the details of this month’s auction of twenty-year bonds at 11 am ET.

At 1:15 pm ET, Federal Reserve Board Governor Christopher Walleris due to speak on “The Dollar’s International Role” at the Global Interdependence Center and University of the Bahamas Conference: Climate, Currency, and Central Banking. Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic is scheduled to speak on the economic outlook and monetary policy before the Money Marketeers of New York University at 7 pm ET.