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Manufacturing Employment Increased by 4,000 in June

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 4,000 net new workers in June. This was slightly lower than the 7,000 additional employees added in May, and in general, it continues a softer-than-desired pace for the first half of 2015, particularly over the past five months. The sector added an average of just 6,167 workers per month in the first half of this year, a much slower rate of hiring than observed in the second half of 2014, which averaged 20,667 per month. The good news is that manufacturing job gains were positive in both May and June, recovering from being flat in April. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Construction Spending Continued to Rise Sharply in May

The Census Bureau said that private, nonresidential manufacturing construction spending rose sharply, up 6.2 percent in May to an annualized $89.69 billion. This represents a significant shift upward over the past year in construction activity for the sector, up from $52.73 billion in May 2014 and $65.68 billion in December 2014. On a year-over-year basis, manufacturing construction has increased by a whopping 70.1 percent. Moreover, the current level is yet another all-time high for this data series, suggesting that manufacturers are confident enough in their outlook to warrant additional investments. (continue reading…)

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ISM: Manufacturing Activity Picked Up Somewhat in June

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index picked up a little in June. The headline PMI increased from 52.8 in May to 53.5 in June, returning to a level last seen in January. As such, this report indicates that manufacturing activity has begun to recover from the softer demand, output and hiring levels experienced earlier in the year, with a number of economic headlines challenging the sector. Still, that does not mean that manufacturers are out of the woods yet, with activity expanding at a slower pace than desired. To illustrate this point, the manufacturing PMI averaged 56.9 in the second half of 2014, but has averaged 52.6 through the first six months of 2015. (continue reading…)

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ADP: After Three Months of Employment Declines, Manufacturing Hiring Ticked Higher in June

ADP said that manufacturing employment rose by 7,000 in June, ending a three-month period of declines in hiring for the sector. This is welcome news, as it suggests that job growth has begun to recover from weaker economic conditions earlier in the year. Year-to-date, the manufacturing sector has added just 8,000 workers on net. This compares to 164,000 net new jobs generated in 2014, or an average of roughly 13,650 per month. Hopefully, we will return to a similar pace as we move into the second half of 2015.

In the larger economy, nonfarm private businesses added 237,000 workers in June, extending the 203,000 gain observed in May. Nonfarm payrolls have risen by 200,000 or more in 15 of the past 17 months, with the exceptions being in March and April of this year. As with the manufacturing data described above, this indicates a rebound from springtime softness in the overall labor market. (continue reading…)

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Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Jumped Higher in June

The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment jumped higher in June. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 94.6 in May to 101.4 in June, matching its level of March and coming after two months of softness in the data. Sentiment continues to remain below the post-recessionary peak observed in January (103.8), but overall, this report suggests that Americans’ attitudes have rebounded from weaknesses earlier in the year. In addition, confidence has risen from one year ago when the index was 86.4. Despite these improvements, the public continues to remain somewhat anxious about labor and income growth. (continue reading…)

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Dallas Fed: Texas Manufacturers Contracted for the Sixth Straight Month

The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in its Texas district for the sixth straight month. Nonetheless, the pace of decline eased a bit in June, with the composite index of general business conditions increasing from -20.8 in May to -7.0 in June. While this might represent some progress, the larger headline is that this index has been negative in each month so far in 2015, mainly due to lower crude oil prices. With that said, there might be a sense of stabilization. As one fabricated metal products manufacturer said in the sample comments, “Signs of some stability in oil and gas exploration and production are emerging. If that continues, then our business conditions will benefit in the coming months.” (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – June 29, 2015

Here is the summary for this week’s Monday Economic Report:

Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound. (continue reading…)

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Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined for the Fourth Straight Month in June

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined for the fourth straight month in June, albeit at a slower pace than in May. The composite index of general business conditions increased from -13 in May to -9 in June. The slower decline for the headline measure stemmed largely from an easing in the decrease of new orders (up from -19 to -3). Still, it is hard to paint this report in a positive manner, with continued sluggishness across the board. For instance, the rate of production weakened even further (down from -13 to -21), with shipments (down from -9 to -15), employment (up from -17 to -9) and exports (up from -9 to -5) all solidly in contraction. Exports have been negative for six consecutive months. (continue reading…)

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Personal Spending Picked Up Strongly in May

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that personal spending rose 0.9 percent in May, rebounding from a more-cautious 0.1 percent growth rate observed in April. It was the fastest monthly growth rate since August 2009. From the manufacturing perspective, this was welcome news, with spending on durable and nondurable goods up 2.2 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. More importantly, it provides some encouragement that Americans might return to opening their wallets – something that there has been more hesitance to do so far this year. The year-over-year rate of personal spending in May, 3.6 percent, was the highest since December, up from 3.1 percent since in April. (continue reading…)

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First Quarter Real GDP Upwardly Revised to a Decline of 0.2 Percent

The Bureau of Economic Analysis said that the U.S. economy shrank by 0.2 percent in the first quarter. This second revision was an improvement upon the 0.7 percent decline seen in the previous estimate. Looking at the newer data, the improvement came from slightly better figures for personal consumption, nonresidential fixed investments, inventory replenishment, and state and local government spending. Yet, the underlying trends were not altered much, including the following:

  • The largest drag on growth in the first quarter was from net exports, subtracting 1.9 percentage points from the headline number. In this revision, the decline in goods exports was slower than in the prior release (down 7.5 percent instead of 14.0 percent), but this was offset by a bigger increase in goods imports (up 7.2 percent instead of 5.1 percent). International demand for manufactured goods exports has been dampened by the strong dollar and continued softness in economic markets abroad. (continue reading…)
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