Tag: manufacturing activity

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Slowed to a Near Crawl in February

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity slowed to a near crawl in February, mirroring the easing we have seen in other regions. The composite index of general business conditions dropped has declined from 8 in December to 3 in January to 1 in February. The silver lining, of course, is that activity in the sector continues to expand, albeit barely, as it has now for 14 straight months. Still, the weaker headline figure was pulled lower by contracting levels of new orders (down from -8 to -10), exports (down from -7 to -13) and employment (down from zero to -4). There were several reasons cited in the sample comments for the softness, including sluggish global growth, reduced crude oil prices and the West Coast ports slowdown. (continue reading…)

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New Durable Goods Orders Rebounded in January on Strong Aircraft Orders

The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders rose 2.8 percent in January, rebounding from the 3.7 percent decline observed in December. It was the strongest increase in durable goods orders in six months, with demand off in four of the past five months. As such, manufacturing activity since July 2014 has been less-than-desired, providing a bit of a contrast with better demand and sentiment data elsewhere. The sluggish global economic environment has likely played a role in this softness. On a year-over-year basis, durable goods orders have risen 5.4 percent, but this strength is somewhat misleading, as it builds off of the significant weather-related slowdowns seen 12 months ago. (continue reading…)

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Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Stagnated in February

The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity stagnated in February, ending 10 straight months of expansion in the district. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 6 in January to zero in February, its lowest level since contracting in March 2014. Indeed, many of the underlying measures slipped into negative territory in February. This included new orders (down from 4 to -2), shipments (down from 10 to -1), capacity utilization (down from 9 to -4) and the average workweek (down from 8 to -6). 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. (continue reading…)

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Monday Economic Report – February 23, 2015

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

In the minutes of its January 27–28 meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) provided a nuanced view of the economic outlook. Participants noted that “economic activity had been expanding at a solid pace,” and they were mostly optimistic about the “prospects for further improvement in 2015.” Yet, the FOMC also pointed to some significant headwinds in the U.S. economy, including sluggish global growth, a stronger U.S. dollar, federal government sequestration and reduced crude oil prices. Regarding the latter, the Federal Reserve said that it was concerned that “persistently low energy prices might prompt a larger retrenchment of employment [and capital investment] in these industries.” (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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Factory Orders Fell for the Fifth Straight Month in December

The Census Bureau said that new factory orders fell 3.4 percent in December, extending the 1.7 percent decrease observed in November. It was the fifth straight monthly decline. This disappointing report was foreshadowed by the preliminary durable goods release, which stated that sales had declined in four of the past five months. As such, these data show that manufacturing activity ended 2014 on a weak note, with sluggish global growth dampening demand in the United States. To illustrate the slowness of recent data, manufactured goods orders averaged $498.81 billion per month in 2014 as a whole, but December’s level was just $471.45 billion. On a more encouraging note, the average for new factory orders in 2014 was 2.8 percent higher than the $485.4 billion monthly average seen in 2013. (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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