Tag: hiring

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted for the Second Straight Month in April

The Richmond Fed said that manufacturing activity remained soft in April, contracting for the second straight month. If there was a silver lining, it was that several key indicators declined by less in this report. The composite index of general business conditions improved from -8 in March to -3 in April. Along those lines, the pace of the decline eased for a number of indices, including new orders (up from -13 to -6), shipments (up from -13 to -6) and capacity utilization (up from -7 to -4). It was the third consecutive monthly decrease in new orders, reflecting weaker demand. (continue reading…)

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Dallas Fed: Manufacturers Continue to Struggle on Crude Oil, Dollar Woes

The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in Texas for the fourth straight month. The composite index of general business conditions rose from -17.4 in March to -16.0 in April, suggesting a slightly slower pace of decline for the month. Yet, it is clear that manufacturers in the district are struggling with lower crude oil prices and a stronger U.S. dollar. Each was mentioned several times in the sample comments, providing a double whammy to the Texas economy. Nearly 28 percent of manufacturing respondents to the survey suggested that conditions had worsened in April, versus 11.7 percent indicating some improvement. (continue reading…)

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Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Sentiment Fell Further in April

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing sentiment fell further in April, contracting for the second straight month. The composite index of general business conditions declined from -4 in March to -7 in April. The sample comments tick off a number of challenges for manufacturers in the district, including the strong U.S. dollar, lower crude oil prices, continuing logistics problems from the West Coast ports slowdown and global competition. The index for new export orders (down from -9 to -12) was negative for the fourth consecutive month, reflecting the dollar’s strength and weaknesses abroad. (continue reading…)

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Markit: Slower Manufacturing Data in China, Europe and the U.S. in April

Manufacturing activity in China contracted for the fourth time in the past five months, according to preliminary data from Markit. The HSBC Flash China Manufacturing PMI dropped from 49.6 in March to 49.2 in April, its lowest level in 12 months. The decline stemmed largely from reduced domestic demand, with the new orders index down from 49.3 to 49.2. The employment index (up from 47.4 to 48.0) has now reflected contracting levels of hiring for 20 straight months. On the positive side, new export orders (up from 49.0 to 50.6) shifted to a slight expansion in April, and output (down from 50.8 to 50.4) expanded ever-so slightly, albeit at a slower pace this month. (continue reading…)

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NABE: Economic Activity Eased Somewhat Over the Past 3 Months

The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) reported decelerated growth in its latest Business Conditions Survey. The net percentage of respondents saying that their profit margins had increased over the past three months dropped from 24 percent in January to 10 percent in April, reflecting both weaker demand and higher costs. On the positive side, sales continue to expand, just at a slightly eased pace. This is especially true in the goods-producing sectors, which had half of those taking the survey say that their sales were higher in the quarter. Yet, 56 percent of respondents noted that slower growth in China had negatively impacted their businesses, with two –thirds saying that a stronger U.S. dollar had made a negative “material impact” on them. (continue reading…)

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Philly Fed: Modest Manufacturing Growth in April, but With Lingering Challenges

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity picked up a bit in April after softening over the past three months. The composite index of general business activity rose from 5.0 in March to 7.5 in April. This suggests modest growth overall, even as it continues to show an expansion that was slower than at the end of last year. The headline index was 24.3 in December, for instance. The Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey continues to reflect mostly positive attitudes moving forward, despite headwinds that will continue to challenge growth. One of those headwinds has been a stronger U.S. dollar. (continue reading…)

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NY Fed: Manufacturing Orders Contracted in April

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey contracted in April, ending three straight months of expansion in the district. The composite index of general business conditions from the New York Federal Reserve Bank declined from 6.9 in March to -1.2 in April. The decline stemmed from reduced new orders (down from -2.4 to -6.0), which decreased at a faster pace for the month. Nearly one-third of those taking the survey said that their new orders were lower in April, up from 27.5 percent in March. The index for the average employee workweek also narrowed, down from 5.2 to -4.3, but with 78.8 percent of respondents suggesting that the workweek was unchanged.  (continue reading…)

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NFIB: Small Business Optimism Dipped in March

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said that small business owners were less confident in March. The Small Business Optimism Index dropped from 98.0 in February to 95.2 in March, its lowest level in 9 months. As such, it continues a trend of weaker survey responses so far in 2015, with the headline index down from 100.4 in December, its highest point since October 2006. To be fair, small businesses remain more upbeat today than one year ago (93.4 in March 2014), but growth has clearly slowed in the past three months due to economic headwinds seen in other reports, as well. (continue reading…)

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Kansas City Fed: Reduced Manufacturing Activity in March

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity declined in March, contracting for the first time in 12 months. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 1 in February to -4 in March. Perhaps more worrisome, the decline in new orders accelerated (down from -10 to -20), falling for the third straight month. The sample comments provide clues about why this is the case, with respondents noting a number of headwinds impacting their demand. These include snowstorms, reduced crude oil prices, the stronger U.S. dollar and the West Coast ports slowdown. (continue reading…)

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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Contracted in March

The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity contracted in March, declining for the first time in 12 months. The composite index of general business conditions decreased from zero in February to -8 in March. The underlying data were lower across-the-board, reflecting weaknesses for the month in terms of overall activity and a deterioration from February’s numbers. This included new orders (down from -2 to -13), shipments (down from -1 to -13), capacity utilization (down from -4 to -7) and the average workweek (up from -6 to -4). As such, manufacturers clearly pulled back in a number of areas for the month, likely due to global slowness, a stronger dollar and reduced commodity prices. On the positive side, hiring (up from 4 to 6) continued to grow modestly, providing some encouragement moving forward. (continue reading…)

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