|Factory orders rose $8.8 billion, or 1.8%, in November to a seasonally adjusted $497.9 billion. This follows a 0.5% decrease in October. Excluding the volatile transportation sector, orders increased 0.6% in November.
The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted composite index of mortgage applications for the week ending January 3 rose 2.6% from December 27. Purchase volume fell 1%. Refinancing applications increased 5%.
Non-manufacturing activity fell to 53 in November from 53.9 in October. A reading above 50 signals expansion. It was the 48th straight month of expansion in the services sector.
The trade deficit decreased from $39.3 billion in October to $34.3 billion in November. Exports rose $1.7 billion to $194.9 billion. Imports decreased $3.4 billion to $229.1 billion. It was the lowest monthly deficit since October 2009.
Retail sales fell 5.4% for the week ending January 4, according to the ICSC-Goldman Sachs index. On a year-over-year basis, retailers saw sales increase 1.7%.
Wholesalers increased their inventories 0.5% to $516.4 billion in November. Sales at the wholesale level rose 1% to $440.1 billion in November. On a year-over-year basis, sales were 5.5% higher than November 2012. The seasonally adjusted wholesale inventories/sales ratio in November 2013 was 1.17.
Initial claims for unemployment benefits for the week ending January 4 fell by 15,000 to 330,000. Continuing claims for the week ending December 28 rose by 50,000 to 2.865 million. The less volatile four-week average of claims for unemployment benefits was 349,000.
The unemployment rate fell from 7% in November to 6.7% in December, the lowest it has been since October 2008. Employers added 74,000 jobs in December.
Upcoming on the economic calendar are reports on retail sales on January 14, the housing market index on January 16 and housing starts on January 17