The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders rose 2.9 percent in December, extending the 1.7 percent gain seen in November. The increase in both months stemmed largely from strong defense and nondefense aircraft and parts sales, jumping 55.3 percent and 15.9 percent in December, respectively. It is important to note that aircraft orders can be highly volatile from month to month. Excluding transportation equipment, new durable goods orders were up 0.6 percent in December, increasing for the sixth straight month. Read More
The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district continued to expand in January, even as growth eased for the second straight month. The composite index for the general business assessment declined from 20 in December to 14 in January, pulling back once again from November’s all-time high in the survey’s 34-year history (30). The bottom line is that manufacturers in the region see relatively strong expansions in activity as 2018 begins, continuing the trend of decent growth experienced for much of 2017. New orders (unchanged at 16) expanded at the same pace on net in January as seen in December, but other key measures decelerated somewhat. This included shipments (down from 24 to 15), capacity utilization (down from 16 to 13), employment (down from 20 to 10) and wages (down from 8 to 2). Wages (up from 22 to 24) picked up, expanding rather strongly for the month—another sign of continued tightening in the labor market. Read More
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity began 2018 on a solid note, even with a little easing in several measures in January. The composite index of general business activity declined from 27.9 in December to 22.2 in January, which was its lowest level since August but continued to reflect optimism overall. (Note that these figures reflect a new seasonal adjustment update for all past data points.) To illustrate the improvements in manufacturing sentiment over the past year, the headline index averaged 27.4 in 2017, up from 4.9 in 2016, and this measure has indicated expanding levels of activity for 20 straight months. In December, the underlying data were mixed. Shipments (up from 23.9 to 30.3), the average workweek (up from 12.6 to 16.7) and raw material prices (up from 27.8 to 32.9) accelerated somewhat for the month; whereas, new orders (down from 28.2 to 10.1) and employment (down from 19.7 to 16.8) softened. Read More
Manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district eased somewhat in January but remained strong overall. In the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the composite index of general business conditions declined from 19.6 in December to 17.7 in January. (Note that these figures reflect a new seasonal adjustment update for all past data points.) While this was the third straight deceleration in the headline index, off from the three-year high of 28.1 in October, the pace of expansion has remained robust, averaging 20.6 over the past eight months.
The underlying indicators reflected slower, but still encouraging, growth. This included continuing solid growth for new orders (down from 19.0 to 11.9) and shipments (down from 23.5 to 14.4), but much softer expansions in the labor market variables of employment (down from 22.9 to 3.8) and the average workweek (down from 9.3 to 0.8). On the downside, prices for raw materials (up from 29.7 to 36.2) accelerated once again to an 11-month high, with nearly 40 percent of respondents saying that input costs were higher in January. Read More
The Census Bureau said that new durable goods orders were up 1.3 percent in November, rebounding from a decline of 0.4 percent in October. The increase in the latest data stemmed largely from strong transportation equipment sales, including healthy growth for motor vehicles and parts (up 1.4 percent), defense aircraft and parts (up 11.9 percent) and nondefense aircraft and parts (up 14.5 percent). It is important to note that aircraft orders can be highly volatile from month to month, and the November data include robust demand from the Dubai Airshow. Excluding transportation equipment, new durable goods orders edged down by 0.1 percent in November, its first decline in five months.
New durable goods orders have generally trended in the right direction over the course of the past 12 months. In fact, new durable goods orders have jumped 8.2 percent since November 2016. With transportation equipment excluded, the year-over-year rate was 7.0 percent. One of the more important measures in this release is new orders for core capital goods (or nondefense capital goods excluding aircraft), which can often be seen as a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy. In November, new orders for core capital goods inched down 0.1 percent, but like the headline number above, the year-over-year pace was a very healthy 8.1 percent. Read More
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity continued to expand strongly in December. The composite index of general business activity increased from 22.7 in November to 26.2 in December. Overall, manufacturers in the district are more upbeat this year than last, with the headline index averaging 27.3 in 2017 versus 4.8 for 2016. New orders (up from 21.4 to 29.8) and shipments (up from 21.7 to 23.4) both accelerated in the latest month, ending the year with a robust pace. Indeed, 41.5 percent of respondents said that new orders had risen in December, with just 11.7 percent citing declining sales. The labor market was also healthy. Employment (down from 22.6 to 18.1) and the average workweek (down from 13.7 to 10.6) remained at healthy rates of growth despite some easing in this report. Read More
Manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district eased a little in December but remained strong overall. In the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the composite index of general business conditions declined from 19.4 in November to 18.0 in December. While this was the second straight deceleration in the headline index, off from the three-year high of 30.2 in October, the pace of expansion has remained robust, averaging 21.0 over the past seven months. The underlying indicators were somewhat mixed. On the positive side, shipments (up from 18.4 to 22.4) strengthened in December, with growth in new orders (down from 20.7 to 19.5) slowing slightly but still expanding at a healthy pace. Hiring (down from 11.5 to 5.1) also grew at its weakest rate since July, with the average employee workweek (up from -0.8 to zero) improving to neutral in this survey. Read More