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Novembers trade deficit was 45.2 Billion an increase of 2.9 billion as exports slipped .4 billion and imports gained 2.4 billion. That said trade appears to be picking up a little. Factory order fell 2.4% in November missing expectations and erasing most of October’s gains.

December saw the creation of 156,000 new jobs, a little less than expectations, as the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.7%. Average hourly wages gained .4% for the month and 2.9% from a year ago, the work week was unchanged while the labor force participation rate improved slightly to 62.7%. For all of 2016 some 2.16 million jobs were created for an average of 180,000 per month essentially just enough to keep up with population growth and less than the 2.7 million jobs created in 2015. Good but not great numbers that reflect an economy muddling along as it has done for quite some time now.

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