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Factory orders fell by -0.6% in November for the second consecutive drop in new orders after a -2.1% decline in October. Much of November’s drop was the result of a -1.9% fall for “nondurable goods industries” new orders, a newly introduced data category that includes petroleum products, and which was strongly affected by a $20 decline in oil prices. However, the drop in oil was offset by +31.2% and +72.6% increases in civilian and military aircraft, respectively, which pulled overall durable goods orders up to +0.7%. Excluding military and aircraft orders, core capital goods orders fell -0.6% compared to a +0.5% increase in October.
Due to the government shutdown, only manufacturing data was available in the 2018 Q4 Productivity and Costs report, although revisions were available for Q3, with nonfarm business productivity revised down to +2.2% (-0.1%), manufacturing productivity revised up to +1.1% (+0.1%), and nonfinancial corporate productivity revised to +6.1% (+0.6%), for the largest increase since a +6.7% reading in 2012 Q4. Manufacturing output for Q4 was up +2.3% with an increase of +1.0% in hours worked, bringing labor productivity up +1.3%. Durable manufacturing productivity (+2.6%) outpaced nondurable manufacturing (+1.2%), with durable output growing +5.7% compared to a -1.2% drop for nondurable, and durable manufacturing hours worked growing +3.0% while hours worked for nondurable manufacturing declined -2.4%.
The trade deficit narrowed by $6.4 billion in November to $49.3 billion, largely because imports fell by $7.7 billion, with an accompanying drop of -$1.3 billion in exports. Exports increased for capital goods (+1.4 billion), but this was not enough to make up for drops in industrial supplies exports (-$1.4 billion) and consumer goods exports (-$0.9 billion). Imports dropped by -$4.3 billion for consumer goods, which included a -$2.3 billion drop for cell phones and household goods, and a -$3.4 billion drop for industrial supplies, which included a -$1.4 billion fall in petroleum products. The trade deficit with China narrowed by -$2.8 billion to $35.4 billion, with imports decreasing by -$2.9 billion and exports decreasing by -$0.1 billion.
Thursday February 14 – Retail Sales
Friday February 15 – Industrial Production