U.S. Unemployment Rate Lowest Since May 2008
The United States unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in February, the lowest it has been since May of 2008. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added only 8,000 net new workers in January - significantly fewer workers than the past four months (October to January), which averaged 27,000 per month. This softening is consistent with recent manufacturing activity, including weaknesses in export markets, the West Coast ports slowdown and reduced energy prices. On a positive note, manufacturers have added to their workforce for 19 straight months. To read more, visit here.
U.S. Trade Deficit Narrowed Slightly in January
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau, the United States trade deficit narrowed somewhat last month, from $45.60 billion in December down to $41.75 billion in January. Both goods exports and goods imports were down in January, mostly due to lower crude oil prices. Based on the data, it is believed that the stronger U.S. dollar, sluggish overseas growth and reduced energy prices have had a negative impact on trade. To read more, visit here.
Personal Spending Falls Again in January
For the second straight month personal spending fell, decreasing 0.2 percent in January, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The data suggests Americans remain cautious, as durable and nondurable goods spending were also lower in January. With spending down over the past two months, the savings rate has risen from 4.5 percent in November to 5.5 percent in January. Still, on a year-over-year basis, personal spending has increased at a fairly decent growth rate of 3.6 percent. To read more, visit here.