U.S. Trade Deficit Down to Smallest Gap Since 2009
April 02, 2015
Governor Brown of California Mandated 25% Statewide Cuts to Water Use; the U.S. Trade Deficit Nattered 16.9% to $35.4 Billion in February, the Smallest Gap Since 2009; Initial Jobless Claims Fell to Their Lowest Level Since April 2000.
- Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) mandated on Wednesday 25% statewide cuts to water use in California after officials measured the lowest April 1 snowpack in more than 60 years of record-keeping in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The snowpack, which normally accounts for 30% of California’s water supply, is only about 5% of the average for April 1. In issuing the state’s first ever mandatory drought restrictions on water use, Gov. Brown announced that 50 million square feet of grass would be removed from public areas and will be replaced with drought-tolerant landscaping. Moreover, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California unveiled a turf rebate program in which homeowners would be compensated for voluntarily removing their grass turf lawns. [LA Times]
Economic Indicators & News
- The U.S. trade deficit narrowed 16.9% to $35.4 billion in February from $42.7 billion the previous month, the smallest gap since 2009, due to continued weakness in oil prices and lower import prices. Both American imports and exports declined. A stronger dollar made goods and services from abroad less expensive and those produced at home less competitive in international markets. Regionally, the U.S. had a trade surplus with South and Central America, Brazil, and the Middle East and recorded its largest deficits with China, the European Union, and Mexico. [BEA]
- Initial jobless claims fell to their lowest level since April 2000, as 268,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week that ended on March 28th – down sharply from the prior reading of 288,000. The 4-week moving average plummeted 14,750 to 285,000 while continuing claims dropped 88,000 to 2.325 million. The unemployment rate for insured workers fell 0.1% to 1.7%, which is a recovery low. An improving situation in unemployment claims foreshadows strong job growth in the March employment report to be released tomorrow. The market expectation was for 285,000 new jobless claims last week. [Labor]