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Manufacturing & The Economy

Midwest Leading U.S. Manufacturing Renaissance

In its annual 'America’s Top States for Business' report, “CNBC ranked the states based on six manufacturing statistics, including overall output, share of GSP and total exports. The states were then ranked based on this aggregate total. Indiana tops the rankings in share of GSP and the portion of employment in manufacturing, with 17%.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana added 19,700 manufacturing jobs between January 2014 and April of this year. Only Michigan and Ohio, which added 26,900 and 22,600, respectively, had more. 

NAM Monday Economic Report – June 29, 2015

Last week, there were several reminders that the manufacturing sector has not recovered fully from economic weaknesses earlier in the year, even as business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about activity in the coming months. Durable goods orders declined 1.8 percent in May, extending April’s 1.5 percent decrease. Much of this softness stemmed from reduced aircraft sales, with orders excluding transportation modestly higher. Nonetheless, durable goods demand has been quite weak for much of the past year. On the positive side, we would expect stronger durable goods orders in the June data, with the recent Paris Air Show lifting aircraft sales, and the broader measure, which excludes transportation, has edged marginally higher over the past three months. We hope that this is the start of a rebound.

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Durable Goods Down More Than Anticipated in May

New orders for manufactured durable goods in May decreased $4.1 billion or 1.8% to $228.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Tuesday. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 1.5% April decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.5%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 2.1%.

Shipments of manufactured durable goods in May, down four of the last five months, decreased $0.2 billion or 0.1% to $239.9 billion. This followed a 0.2% April decrease.

Inventories of manufactured durable goods in May, down following twenty-three consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.8 billion or 0.2% to $400.6 billion. This followed a 0.2% April increase. 

U.S. Manufacturing PMI Lowest Since October 2013

Adjusted for seasonal influences, the Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) registered 53.4 in June, down from 54.0 in May and the lowest reading since October 2013. The PMI was still above the neutral 50.0 threshold, but slightly below its average since the recovery began in late-2009 (54.3).

Softer output growth was a principal factor behind the decline in the headline index during June. In contrast, new business growth picked up slightly from May’s 16-month low and job creation accelerated to its strongest since November 2014.

The latest expansion of production volumes was the weakest recorded by the survey since January 2014. Some manufacturers cited greater efforts to fulfill orders from inventories in June, as highlighted by the first reduction in stocks of finished goods since December 2014. Moreover, there were reports that softer output growth reflected a degree of caution about the business outlook, as well as concerns about the impact of the strong dollar on competitiveness. Although new orders from abroad stabilized in June, this followed declines in export sales during each of the previous two months.

Leading Economic Indicators Rise More Than Forecast

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.7% in May to 123.1, following a 0.7% increase in April, and a 0.4 percent increase in March.

“The U.S. LEI increased sharply again in May, confirming the outlook for more economic expansion in the second half of the year after what looks to be a much weaker first half,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director, business cycles and growth research, at The Conference Board. “While residential construction and consumer expectations support the more positive outlook, industrial production and new orders in manufacturing are painting a somewhat more mixed picture.”

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