Saturday, 2 February 2013

US economy adds jobs as manufacturing shows signs of acceleration

US economic data on Friday were mostly positive.

Employment rose 157,000 in January. In addition, revisions added a total of 127,000 jobs to the previous estimates for the last two months of 2012. The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in December though.

Construction spending rose 0.9 percent in December to the highest level since August 2009.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose to 73.8 in January from 72.9 in December.

US manufacturing activity accelerated in January. The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing PMI rose to 53.1 from 50.2 in December while Markit's US manufacturing PMI rose to 55.8 from 54.0.

Economic data from the euro area on Friday were also relatively positive. Inflation slowed to 2.0 percent in January from 2.2 percent in December while the unemployment rate held at 11.7 percent in December. Markit's manufacturing PMI for the euro area rose to 47.9 in January from 46.1 in December.

Manufacturing slowed though in the UK in January. The Markit/CIPS Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 50.8 in January from 51.2 in December. Nevertheless, January was the second consecutive month that the index had been above 50.

Manufacturing also continued to grow in China in January. The manufacturing PMI from the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing and the National Bureau of Statistics fell to 50.4 in January from 50.6 in December. However, the HSBC manufacturing PMI rose to a two-year high of 52.3 in January from 51.5 in December.

There were disappointing economic data from Japan though. The unemployment rate rose to 4.2 percent in December while household spending fell 0.7 percent from a year earlier.

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