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Manufacturing & The Economy

Leading Economic Indicators Suggest Further Growth

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.8% in September to 104.4, following no change in August, and a 1.1% increase in July.

“The LEI picked up in September, after no change in August, and the strengths among its components have been very widespread over the past six months,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “The outlook for improving employment and further income growth are expected to support the moderate expansion in the U.S economy for the remainder of the year.”

“The financial markets are reflecting turmoil and unease, but the data on the leading indicators continue to suggest moderate growth in the short-term,” said Ken Goldstein, Economist at The Conference Board. “Meanwhile, the weak advances in the housing market remain a bigger risk to the outlook than short-term financial gyrations.” 

Factories See Weakest Pace of New Orders since Jan.

At 56.2 in October, down from 57.5 in September, the seasonally adjusted Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI indicated a slower improvement in overall business conditions across the manufacturing sector. Although still comfortably above the neutral 50.0 value, the index was the lowest since July and notably weaker than the average seen during the third quarter as a whole (57.1).

Softer new business growth was the main negative influence on the headline PMI in October, as the latest rise in new orders was much weaker than in September and the slowest for nine months. A number of survey respondents commented on more cautious spending patterns among clients, especially in relation to export sales. October data pointed to only a moderate expansion of new orders from abroad, with the pace of growth easing sharply to a three-month low. 

$24.4 Billion Market for Industrial Robotics by 2025

The rise of robotics is gaining traction much faster than most executives realize and will have a major impact on the competitiveness of companies and countries alike, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Spending on robots worldwide is expected to more than quadruple from just over $15 billion four years ago to about $67 billion by 2025—a 10.4% compound annual growth rate since 2010—according to BCG’s study. The findings appear in a new article, “The Rise of Robotics,” published on bcgperspectives.com.

The industrial segment—robots used in applications such as welding, assembly, painting, and material handling—will continue to be the largest, growing at a compound growth rate of 10.1% from $5.8 billion to $24.4 billion. 

NAM Monday Economic Report – October 20, 2014

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

Global financial markets were highly volatile last week, with investors concerned about slower growth in Europe and an Ebola outbreak in the United States, among other factors. Indeed, industrial production in the Eurozone fell 1.8 percent in August, and activity was down largely across-the-board, most notably in Germany (down 4.3 percent), the Eurozone’s largest economy. Sluggish income and labor market growth in Europe has also pushed inflationary pressures lower, with year-over-year pricing changes of just 0.3 percent in September. Despite such worries, equity markets began to rebound on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closing at 16380.41. Nonetheless, the DJIA remains 5.2 percent below its all-time high of 17279.74 on September 19.

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Fed Reports Growth, Improving Conditions

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts generally described modest to moderate economic growth at a pace similar to that noted in the previous Beige Book, with several Districts noting that contacts were generally optimistic about future activity.

Manufacturing activity increased in most Districts since the previous Beige Book. However, New York noted that manufacturing growth had stalled, and Boston indicated that their contacts cited weaker results than in the past few reports. The outlook for manufacturing was positive in a number of Districts.

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