The US manufacturing ISM surprised on the upside of expectations in November. The headline index rose from 50.8 to 52.7, while a more moderate increase was expected (to 51.8). The details provide a more mixed picture. Production (56.6 from 50.1), new orders (56.7 from 52.4), customer inventories (50.0 from 43.5), inventories (48.3 from 46.7) and new export orders (52.0 from 50.0) posted nice gains, while employment (51.8 from 53.5), backlog of orders (45.0 from 47.5), supplier deliveries (49.9 from 51.3) and imports (49.0 from 49.5) weakened compared to the previous month. The prices paid index picked up from 41.0 from 45.0, after a sharp decline in October. Over the previous month, US economic data showed an improvement in the economic climate, which is now confirmed by a stronger ISM reading. It will remain interesting to see whether this progress is translated in stronger employment growth too.
In the week ended the 26th of November, US initial jobless claims rose from an upwardly revised 396 000 to 402 000, while the consensus was looking for a further decline to 390 000. Also the less volatile four-week moving average picked slightly up, rising from 395 250 to 395 750 in the week ended the 26th of November. The week under review included the Thanksgiving day holiday and Black Friday, which might have distorted the data somewhat. Besides that, also the changing weather might have caused some extra layoffs in the construction sector. Continuing claims, which are reported with an extra week lag, surprised on the upside too. Continuing claims rose by 35 000 from an upwardly revised 3 705 000 to 3 740 000, while the consensus was looking for a decline to 3 650 000.