U.K. manufacturing output rose the most in seven months in November, as total industrial production suffered an unexpected decline due to maintenance at some North Sea oil fields. Factory production increased 0.7 percent from October, exceeding the 0.3 percent median forecast. However Industrial output fell 0.1 percent, with oil and gas extraction dropping 5.5 percent, the most since January.
Oil played a big part in the trade report and helped to narrow the goods-trade gap to 8.8 billion pounds, the lowest deficit since March. Imports plunged 3.2 percent, as oil imports dropped 18.7 percent to the lowest since October 2010. The total trade deficit of goods and services narrowed to the least since June 2013.
A rise in employment and a falling jobless rate in December capped the best year for the labour market since 1999 and reinforced the U.S. role as the global economy’s stand out performer.
The 252,000 jobs added in December followed a 353,000 rise the prior month that was more than previously estimated. The jobless rate dropped to 5.6 percent, the lowest level since June 2008. The report wasn't all good news as earnings unexpectedly declined from a month earlier.
About 3 million more Americans found work in 2014, the most in 15 years and a sign companies are optimistic as U.S. demand will persist even as overseas markets struggle. The drop in workers’ hourly wages means Federal Reserve policy makers are less likely to move up the timing of an interest-rate increase.
Job growth last month was highlighted by the biggest gain in construction employment in almost a year. Factories, health care providers and business services also kept adding workers in December. The combination of job growth and cheaper gasoline will probably help stretch workers’ pay checks and sustain consumer spending. Prices at the gas pump are at the lowest level since 2009.
There are no key announcements today.
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