Tag: economic outlook

Conference Board: Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since August 2007

Consumer confidence rose to its highest level since August 2007, just a few months before the start of the Great Recession. The Consumer Confidence Index from the Conference Board increased from 93.1 in December to 102.9 in January. The increase in perceptions was more than likely positively influenced by lower gasoline prices and better economic news of late. Indeed, the index of present conditions, which gauges sentiment on the current economic environment, jumped from 99.9 to 112.6. The forward-looking subcomponent also improved, up from 88.5 to 96.4. (continue reading…)

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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continues to Grow Modestly

The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity continued to expand modestly in January. The composite index of general business conditions edged marginally lower, down from 7 in December to 6 in January. While this represented a slower pace than the more-robust growth seen in October, when the composite index measured 20, it did represent the tenth consecutive monthly expansion in the Richmond Fed district. Moreover, growth in shipments (up from 5 to 10), capacity utilization (up from -5 to 9) and the average workweek (up from 4 to 8) accelerated for the month, which were encouraging signs. (continue reading…)

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Dallas Fed: Reduced Energy Prices Have Weakened Manufacturing Activity

Texas manufacturers have been hurt by lower petroleum prices. The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in its district for the first time since May 2013, with reduced energy prices weakening demand and dampening the outlook. The composite index of general business activity has declined from 10.1 in November to 3.5 in December to -4.4 in January. The bulk of the sample comments, for instance, mentioned crude oil prices, both for those in the energy supply chain and from others who are worried about the impacts on the broader Texas economy.   (continue reading…)

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Manufacturing Production Rose 0.3 Percent in December, with 4.9 Percent Growth Year-over-Year

The Federal Reserve Board said that manufacturing production increased 0.3 percent in December, a slower pace than 1.3 percent growth rate observed in November. As such, it was a softer-than-desired end to the year in terms of output. On the positive side, it was the fourth straight monthly expansion for manufacturing production, and the sector has experienced a healthy 4.9 percent increase in output in 2014. That is more than double the year-over-year pace observed in December 2013 of 2.3 percent, for instance, illustrating the significant gains in production and in the outlook made over the past year. Manufacturers continue to be mostly upbeat about 2015, even as they are keenly aware of possible downward risks, especially in global markets. (continue reading…)

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Philly Fed: Manufacturing Activity Slowed in January, but Outlook Remains Strong

Manufacturers in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank district reported somewhat slower growth in January. The composite index of general business conditions fell from 24.3 in December to 6.3 in January, starting 2015 off on a slightly weaker note. Yet, it was the eleventh straight monthly expansion, and the composite index averaged a sky-high 25.1 in the second half of 2014. Some moderation in growth might have been expected at some point. (continue reading…)

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Small Businesses Ended the Year on a High Note

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that optimism soared in December, ending the year on a high note. The Small Business Optimism Index rose from 98.1 in November to 100.4 in December, its highest level since October 2006. Moreover, sentiment has increased significantly since earlier in the year, when the index bottomed out at 91.4 in February. Historically, the small business sector has expanded strongly when the Optimism Index has exceeded 100, so this is an important threshold. As such, the findings were similar to the latest NAM/IndustryWeek survey, which reported 91.2 percent of manufacturers being positive in their outlook in December. (continue reading…)

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Global Manufacturing Economic Update – January 9, 2015

Here is the summary for this month’s Global Manufacturing Economic Update: 

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s December 16–17 meeting continue to reflect increased optimism about the U.S. economy, with relative strength in both output and labor markets. Federal Reserve participants expect U.S. real GDP growth of 2.6 to 3.0 percent in 2015, with the unemployment rate falling to 5.2 to 5.3 percent and core inflation remaining below its stated goal of 2.0 percent. At the same time, they expressed worries that global economic challenges might dampen growth here. Specifically, the minutes say the following on this topic:

Many participants regarded the international situation as an important source of downside risks to domestic real activity and employment, particularly if declines in oil prices and the persistence of weak economic growth abroad had a substantial negative effect on global financial markets or if foreign policy responses were insufficient. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – January 5, 2015

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

Growth in manufacturing activity slowed somewhat in December, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The headline purchasing managers’ index (PMI) dropped from 58.7 in November to 55.5 in December, its lowest level in six months. Slower global growth, reduced commodity prices and the West Coast ports slowdown were cited in the ISM report as reasons for the decline. While this report was disappointing, it is notable that the lower figure followed several months of very healthy expansions in both new orders and production, and manufacturers were more upbeat at year’s end than earlier in the year. The manufacturing PMI data averaged 57.7 in the second half of 2014, an improvement from the 54.0 average observed in the first half. (continue reading…)

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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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