Tag: economic outlook

Monday Economic Report – December 22, 2014

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

Manufacturing production was up sharply in November, with output increasing 1.1 percent for the month and 4.8 percent year-over-year. These healthy gains followed a softer-than-desired autumn, and we hope it suggests that production figures will begin to match the relative optimism regarding expected demand and output seen in a number of sentiment surveys, including the latest NAM/IndustryWeek Survey of Manufacturers. Capacity utilization for the sector was also higher, up from 77.6 percent in October to 78.4 percent in November. This was the highest utilization rate since December 2007, the first month of the Great Recession. Moreover, total industrial production rose 1.3 percent, with utility output in November also up significantly. Mining production was down for the month, but up a whopping 9.3 percent over the past 12 months, with the sector benefiting from increased energy exploration. (continue reading…)

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Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Picked Up Somewhat in December

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity picked up somewhat in December. The composite index of general business conditions increased from 7 in November to 8 in December, accelerating for the second straight month. More importantly, the indices for new orders (up from 1 to 12) and shipments (up from 7 to 15) reflect some strengthening in demand and output after a weaker-than-desired October and November in the district. The pace of production and hiring reflected decent growth, with measures for both unchanged for the month. Another positive was the continuing deceleration in raw material costs, with that index down from 20 in September to 5 in December. Reduced energy prices likely accounted for this shift in cost pressures. (continue reading…)

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Leading Economic Indicators Continue to Point to Upbeat Outlook Next Year

The Conference Board said that the Leading Economic Index (LEI) rose 0.6 percent in November, extending the 0.6 percent increase in October. The LEI has grown 3.6 percent over the past six months, hopefully predicting healthy growth in the U.S. economy over the coming months. In November, strength in manufacturing new orders was one of the larger contributors to the LEI, adding 0.21 percentage points to the headline figure. Other positive elements included the average workweek for production workers, the stock market, consumer confidence, favorable credit conditions and the interest rate spread. (continue reading…)

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Philly Fed: Manufacturing Activity Remained Strong in December

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity remained strong in December. While the composite index dropped from 40.8 in November to 24.5 in December, that figure continues to reflect healthy gains in demand and output. The November data points were outliers in terms of their strength, with December’s report reflecting figures that were closer to the average of the second half of 2014 (27.0). Manufacturers in the Philly Fed region have cited marked improvements since the first half, when the composite index contracted in February and averaged just 10.3 over the first six months of the year. (continue reading…)

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Housing Starts and Permits Eased Somewhat in November

The Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said that housing activity eased somewhat in November. New residential construction starts decreased from a revised 1,045,000 at the annual rate in October to 1,028,000 in November. Despite the slightly decelerated pace, these data continue to show movement in the right direction. To illustrate this, new starts averaged 955,167 in the first half of 2014, but that average has shifted up to 1,032,400 in the five months so far in the second half. (continue reading…)

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NY Fed: Manufacturing Activity Declined in December

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey contracted for the first time since January 2013, according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 10.2 in November to -3.6 in December. Indeed, new orders (down from 9.1 to -2.0) and shipments (down from 11.8 to -0.2) both moved lower for the month, with the average employee workweek (down from -7.5 to -11.5) contracting further. Illustrating this shift, the percentage of respondents saying that their orders had increased from the previous month declined from 32.2 percent in November to 23.9 percent in December. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Production Jumped Higher in November

Manufacturing production was up sharply in November, increasing 1.1 percent after a softer-than-desired autumn. More importantly, production in the sector has risen a relatively healthy 4.8 percent over the past 12 months, suggesting healthy gains over the past year in terms of output. This data tends to mirror other reports, including the latest NAM/IndustryWeek survey, that show manufacturers relatively upbeat about new orders and output as we are about to move into the new year. These stronger gains should bode well for the coming months, we hope, even as business leaders grapple with continuing global economic uncertainties.

Capacity utilization for manufacturers was also higher, up from 77.6 percent in October to 78.4 percent. This was the highest utilization rate since December 2007, the first month of the Great Recession. (continue reading…)

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University of Michigan: Consumer Confidence Soared to its Highest Level Since January 2007

Preliminary consumer confidence numbers soared to their highest level since January 2007, according to the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. The Consumer Sentiment Index rose from 88.8 in November to 93.8 in December. Measures for the current (up from 102.7 to 105.7) and forward-looking (up from 79.9 to 86.1) economic outlook were both higher for the month. This data suggests that Americans were more upbeat in their assessments of the economy, perhaps boosted by improvements in the labor market and by cheaper gasoline prices. (continue reading…)

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NFIB: Small Business Optimism Hit a Pre-Recessionary High in November

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that small business sentiment reached a pre-recessionary high in December. The Small Business Optimism Index rose from 96.1 in October to 98.1 in November, its highest level since February 2007. This is a significant milestone, particularly given the fact that smaller firms have struggled much longer than their larger counterparts to see progress in terms of activity and outlook. Along those lines, the index remains below 100, a level that would indicate strong growth in the sector. Still, this latest data suggests movement in the right direction. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – December 1, 2014

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

The U.S. economy grew 3.9 percent at the annual rate in the third quarter, according to revised real GDP data released last week. This was better than the 3.5 percent original estimate, and more importantly, it suggests real GDP increased at an annualized 4.2 percent over the past two quarters. The report highlighted a number of positive elements in the economy, including healthy increases in consumer and business spending, goods exports and end-of-fiscal-year government spending. The revision also included better inventory replenishment numbers than originally estimated. (continue reading…)

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