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manufacturing activity

Dallas Fed: Manufacturers Continued to Express Expanding Activity

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The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity expanded in April for the seventh straight month, mostly sustaining the pace seen in March. The composite index of general business conditions edged down from 16.9 in March to 16.8 in April. While the headline number eased ever-so-slightly, the composite index has averaged 18.4 over the past six reports, which would indicate significant progress from contracting conditions as recently as September. The recent gains in business confidence can largely be attributed to better energy commodity prices and from a post-election boost in optimism, especially as it relates to expectations regarding pro-growth policies. Nonetheless, the sample comments suggest that the improvements have not been as broad-based as we might prefer, with some firms seeing large gains in activity while others continue to struggle, at least for now. Read More

New York Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expansion Slowed in April

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The Empire State Manufacturing Survey said that manufacturing activity slowed in April, easing from the more robust paces seen in February and March. The composite index of general business conditions declined from 16.4 in March to 5.2 in April, its weakest reading since November. On the positive side, it was the sixth consecutive monthly expansion, continuing to improve from the softer economic environment seen at this point last year. The underlying data in April were mixed. Growth in both new orders (down from 21.3 to 7.0) and the average employee workweek (down from 15.0 to 8.8) decelerated somewhat for the month, mirroring the headline number. More encouragingly, shipments (up from 11.3 to 13.7) and hiring (up from 8.8 to 13.9) each accelerated in April, which was a good sign. Read More

ISM: Manufacturing Activity Expanded Rather Strongly in March Despite a Slight Easing

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The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing PMI expanded rather strongly in March despite a slight easing in the pace from February’s 2½-year high reading. The composite index declined from 57.7 in February, its fastest rate since August 2014, to 57.2 in March. More importantly, it was the seventh straight monthly expansion in the headline number, recognizing definite progress after two years of notable challenges in the sector. Indeed, the sample comments tended to echo improvements in manufacturing activity, citing the better economic conditions and robust sales. This finding also mirrors the most recent NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, which found confidence rising to its highest point in the survey’s nearly 20-year history. Read More

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Growth at Fastest Rate in Nearly Seven Years

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district expanded at its fastest rate since April 2010. The composite index of general business activity increased from 17 in February to 22 in March. That was the fifth straight monthly expansion in the mid-Atlantic region. Indeed, new orders (up from 24 to 26), shipments (up from 16 to 17), capacity utilization (up from 15 to 21), employment (up from 10 to 20) and the average workweek (up from 16 to 21) each accelerated somewhat in the latest survey. Growth in demand also grew at its briskest pace in nearly seven years, which should bode well for activity moving forward, particularly if it can be sustained. Read More

Dallas Fed: Manufacturing Sentiment Expanded for the Sixth Straight Month in Texas

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The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity expanded in March for the sixth straight month, even as it pulled back somewhat from its fastest rate since April 2006. The composite index of general business conditions decreased from 24.5 in February to 16.9 in March. While the headline number eased a bit, the composite index has averaged 18.7 over the past five reports, which would indicate significant progress from contracting conditions as recently as September. The recent gains in business confidence can largely be attributed to better energy commodity prices and from a post-election boost in optimism, especially as it relates to expectations regarding pro-growth policies. Read More

New Durable Goods Orders Expanded for the Second Straight Month, Continuing to Show Progress

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The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders expanded for the second straight month, up 1.7 percent in February after rising by 2.3 percent in January. New orders increased from $231.53 billion in January to $235.39 billion in February, a four-month high. However, much of the gain in February could be explained by a large jump in nondefense aircraft and parts orders, up 47.6 percent, which can often be quite volatile from month-to-month. Excluding transportation, new orders for durable goods rose 0.3 percent for the month, up from $154.41 billion to $154.99 billion. Overall, new durable goods demand has continued to trend in the right direction after stalling for much of the past couple years. New durable goods orders have increased 5.1 percent since February 2016’s $224.08 billion pace; excluding transportation, orders grew 4.6 percent year-over-year, up from $148.14 billion. Read More

Kansas City Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded in February at Fastest Rate Since May 2011

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The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity expanded in March at its fastest rate since May 2011. The composite index of general business conditions rose from 14 in February to 20 in March, expanding for the fourth straight month. As such, manufacturing conditions have continued to improve after notable challenges over the past two years from global headwinds and reduced commodity prices, especially for crude oil. Outside of the headline number, the underlying indices also suggested relatively very robust gains in new orders (up from 26 to 32), production (up from 11 to 37) and shipments (up from 16 to 35). There was some easing for the employment (down from 17 to 13), the average workweek (down from 15 to 13) and exports (down from 9 to 2), but each of these indices remained promising overall. Exports, for instance, were positive for only the second time in the past 16 months. Read More

New York Fed: Manufacturing Activity Continued to Grow Strongly in March

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The Empire State Manufacturing Survey said that manufacturing activity continued to expand at a healthy pace, even as it pulled back in March from the fastest pace in 30 months in February. The composite index of general business conditions eased from 18.7 in February to 16.4 in March, expanding for the fifth straight month. In the latest data, there were signs that of notable improvements in activity in the district, including new orders (up from 13.5 to 21.3), employment (up from 2.0 to 8.8) and the average workweek (up from 4.1 to 15.0). The orders index was at its highest point since April 2011, with 39.4 percent of respondents indicating increased sales in March relative to February’s levels. Read More

Manufacturing Construction Picked Up a Little in January but Remained Soft

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The Census Bureau said that private manufacturing construction spending picked up a little in January after falling to a 2-year low in December. The value of construction put in place in the sector rose from $69.06 billion in December to $69.47 billion in January. While manufacturing construction has largely trended higher over the past few years, activity has stalled more recently as the sector has grappled with sluggish growth and economic and political anxieties. Along those lines, construction activity in the manufacturing sector has pulled sharply lower since achieving the all-time high of $82.15 billion in September 2015. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing construction spending has fallen 6.8 percent. Read More

ISM: Manufacturing Activity Expanded in February at Its Fastest Rate Since August 2014

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The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing PMI expanded at its fastest rate since August 2014. The composite index rose from 56.0 in January to 57.7 in February, and it marked the sixth straight monthly expansion in the headline number. Indeed, manufacturing sentiment has soared in recent months, buoyed by expectations that demand and output will benefit from possible pro-growth policies emanating from Washington. Indeed, all of the sample comments echoed this optimism, citing a “very positive outlook,” “solid” demand and “strong” growth. Along those lines, new orders (up from 60.4 to 65.1) and production (up from 61.4 to 62.9) both indicated healthy gains for the month, with sales growth at levels not seen since December 2013. In addition, exports (up from 54.5 to 55.0) also picked up a little, which was refreshing given the struggles with increasing international sales over the past couple years. Read More