Last updateTue, 17 Oct 2017 3pm


Harvey Caused Steep Drop in U.S. Industrial Output

Industrial production declined 0.9% in August following six consecutive monthly gains. Hurricane Harvey is estimated to have reduced the rate of change in total output by roughly 0.75%. The index for manufacturing decreased 0.3%; storm-related effects appear to have reduced the rate of change in factory output in August about 0.75%. The manufacturing industries with the largest estimated storm-related effects were petroleum refining, organic chemicals, and plastics materials and resins.

Manufacturing output decreased 0.3% in August. A gain of 0.3% for durables was outweighed by decreases of 0.9% for both nondurables and other manufacturing (publishing and logging). 

Empire State Manufacturing Shows Strong Growth in September

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index held steady at 24.4. The new orders index rose four points to 24.9 and the shipments index climbed four points to 16.2, pointing to ongoing solid gains in orders and shipments. Unfilled orders increased, and delivery times continued to lengthen. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and hours worked. Both input prices and selling prices rose at a faster pace than last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions. 

Report Says Most Manufacturing Jobs Could be Automated

McKinsey conducted a study of manufacturing work in 46 countries showing that 478 billion of the 749 billion working hours (64%) spent on manufacturing-related activities globally were automatable with currently demonstrated technology. These working hours could be eliminated or repurposed, assuming that demonstrated technologies are adapted for use in individual cases and then adopted. These figures suggest that, even though manufacturing is one of the most highly automated industries globally, there is still significant automation potential within the four walls of manufacturing sites, as well as in related functional areas such as supply chain and procurement. 

Job Openings Hit Record High in July

According to the newest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Department of Labor, job openings are up 0.9% from June 2017 to 6.2 million. This is the highest number on record, dating back to 2000, the Associated Press reports.

“Hiring also increased. But the record number of openings makes clear that employers have many jobs to fill but are still searching for qualified workers at the pay levels being offered.” 

Third Quarter GDP Forecast Down Due to Storms

“The combined destruction of property from hurricanes Irma and Harvey could range from $150 billion to $200 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from Moody's Analytics.”

CNBC reports that “the U.S. economy could suffer an additional $20 billion to $30 billion in lost economic output from the two storms. As a result, Moody's shaved its third quarter forecast for gross domestic product by half a point to 2.5%.” 

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