Last updateThu, 22 Mar 2018 4pm


ISM: Manufacturing Grew at Fastest Rate Since 2004

Manufacturing expanded in February as the PMI registered 60.8%, an increase of 1.7% from the January reading of 59.1%. “This indicates growth in manufacturing for the 18th consecutive month at strong levels led by continued expansion in new orders, production activity, employment and inventories, with suppliers continuing to struggle delivering to demand. The PMI at 60.8% is the highest level of expansion seen since May 2004, when it reached 61.4%,” says Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. 

Consumer Confidence Level Highest Since 2000

Consumer confidence improved to its highest level since 2000 after a smaller increase in January. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in February to 130.8, up from 124.3 in January. The Present Situation Index increased from 154.7 to 162.4, while the Expectations Index improved from 104.0 last month to 109.7 this month.

Those saying business conditions are “good” increased slightly from 35.0% to 35.8%, while those saying business conditions are “bad” decreased from 13.0% to 10.8%. 

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fell 3.7% in January

New orders for manufactured durable goods in January decreased $9.2 billion or 3.7% to $239.7 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This decrease, down following two consecutive monthly increases, followed a 2.6% December increase. Excluding transportation, new orders decreased 0.3%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 2.7%. Transportation equipment, also down following two consecutive monthly increases, led the decrease, $8.6 billion or 10.0% to $77.7 billion. 

Texas Manufacturing Activity Rises to 12-Year High

Texas factory activity expanded at a faster pace in February, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose 11 points to 27.9, signaling a pickup in output growth.

Demand growth continued at roughly the same pace as in January, while some other measures of manufacturing activity pointed to slightly stronger growth this month. The new orders and growth rate of orders indexes held steady at 25.3 and 15.3, respectively. The capacity utilization index rose five points, coming in at 19.6. The shipments index also rose five points and reached 32.1, its highest reading since 2006

U.S. Borrowing for Business Equipment Up 10%

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index, which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $1 trillion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for January was $6.9 billion, up 10% year-over-year from new business volume in January 2017. Volume was down 46% month-to-month from $12.8 billion in December, following the typical end-of-quarter, end-of-year spike in new business activity. 



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