Tag: economic outlook

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence Pulled Back in February

The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment fell sharply in February. The Consumer Confidence Index declined from a revised 103.8 in January to 96.4 in February. The January figure had been originally reported to be 102.9, and it was the highest point for this measure since August 2007. The decrease in attitudes in this report in February mirrored similar drops in perceptions in the most recent University of Michigan and National Federation of Independent Business surveys. Still, the depth of the pullback in February was larger than expected, and it suggests that the American public remains more anxious than desired. (continue reading…)

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Dallas Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted in February for Second Straight Month

The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in its district for the second straight month. The composite index of general business conditions fell from -4.4 in January to -11.2 in February, its lowest level since April 2013. Reduced crude oil prices have had negative ripple effects throughout the Texas economy, and indeed, many of the sample comments reflected weaker demand throughout the energy supply chain. Beyond energy-related softness, other challenges noted in the comments included the West Coast ports slowdown, a stronger U.S. dollar, increased health insurance costs and regulatory burdens. (continue reading…)

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Philly Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded at a Slightly Slower Pace in February

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity expanded at a slightly slower pace in February than in January. The composite index of general business activity declined from 6.3 to 5.2. Overall activity was softer in both January and February than in prior months, with the headline index averaging 21.5 over the 10-month period from March through December. Nonetheless, the Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey continues to reflect mostly positive attitudes about the economy, with 55.0 percent of respondents suggesting that demand had increased so far in 2015 relative to the last quarter of 2014. (continue reading…)

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NY Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded for the Second Straight Month in the District

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey noted expansion for the second straight month in the district, according to the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 10.0 in January to 7.8 in February, but this still represented modest growth overall for the region’s manufacturers. However, the underlying data were mixed but mostly reflected some easing in February, much like the headline figure. The pace of shipments (up from 9.6 to 14.1) was higher; yet, many of the other data points were weaker, including new orders (down from 6.1 to 1.2) and employment (down from 13.7 to 10.1). In addition, the average workweek (up from -8.4 to -1.1) contracted by less than the month before. (continue reading…)

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NFIB: Small Business Optimism Pulls Back Somewhat in January after Peaking in December

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that optimism pulled back somewhat in January after peaking in December. The Small Business Optimism Index declined from 100.4 in December, its highest level since October 2006, to 97.9 in January. Despite the drop in sentiment, the longer-term trend continues to reflect upward movement, with the headline index up 3.8 points over the past 12 months. Still, this report shows that there are lingering anxieties about the economic outlook, even with signs of recent progress. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – February 9, 2015

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

Manufacturers in the United States have added roughly 18,800 workers per month on average over the past 13 months, with an average of 29,000 from October through January. This suggests that the momentum in demand and production in the second half of 2014 has led to an uptick in hiring, which is encouraging. Income growth was also higher, with average weekly earnings up 2.0 percent year-over-year in January. At the same time, the larger economy has also seen strong growth, with nonfarm payrolls increasing by nearly 260,000 per month since the end of 2013. The unemployment rate edged up to 5.7 percent, however, as more Americans re-entered the labor force looking for work. The participation rate rose from 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. (continue reading…)

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BLS: Manufacturers Have Added Roughly 18,800 Workers per Month Since 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that manufacturers added 22,000 net new workers in January, extending the 26,000 gain observed in December. These data included rather large upward revisions for previous months, and since December 2013, manufacturers have added roughly 18,800 workers per month on average. As such, the manufacturing sector has been making relatively strong gains on the hiring front, with an average of 29,000 over the past four months (October through January). This suggests that momentum in demand and production at the end of 2014 has warranted healthy growth in employment, which is encouraging. Looking at a longer time horizon, manufacturers have added 855,000 workers since 2009. (continue reading…)

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ISM: Growth in Manufacturing Activity Eased for the Third Straight Month in January

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) decreased from 55.5 in December to 53.5 in January. This marks the third straight monthly easing in the headline PMI number, and signals that weaknesses in the global economy have begun to dampen demand for U.S. manufacturers. Indeed, the index for new orders has fallen from healthy growth in November (62.1) to still-decent gains in December (57.8) to a more-modest expansion to begin the new year (52.9). January’s new orders pace reached its slowest in 12 months, with export growth (down from 52.0 to 49.5) turning marginally negative.  (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – February 2, 2015

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

The U.S. economy grew 2.4 percent in 2014, just barely edging out the 2.2 percent gain in 2013. Yet, that somewhat understates the strength of the economy since the winter-related weaknesses seen at this point last year. Indeed, real GDP increased by an annualized 4.1 percent during the last three quarters of 2014, and in the fourth quarter, Americans spent at a healthy 4.3 percent annual pace, the fastest rate since the first quarter of 2006. Still, the 2.6 percent growth rate in real GDP in the fourth quarter also had some red flags. Weaker growth abroad, a strengthening U.S. dollar and worries about dramatically lower energy prices have impacted capital spending and international demand negatively. Therefore, while manufacturers remain mostly upbeat about orders and production in 2015, these developments serve as a reminder of the challenges in the global marketplace right now. (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Construction Spending Rose in December, Was Up Strongly in 2014

The Census Bureau said that manufacturing construction increased 1.9 percent in December, rising to an annualized $60.39 billion. This was the highest level since May 2009. Manufacturers spending on construction projects were up sharply from the $51.04 pace observed in December 2013, representing a year-over-year increase of 18.3 percent. As such, this data suggests that manufacturing leaders have enough confidence in their outlook to warrant additional construction investment, which is encouraging. (continue reading…)

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