Last updateTue, 25 Feb 2020 5pm

Durable Goods Manufacturing Down 0.2% in December

The Federal Reserve reports that industrial production in the U.S. declined 0.3% in December, as a decrease of 5.6% for utilities outweighed increases of 0.2% for manufacturing and 1.3% for mining. The index for durable goods manufacturing slipped 0.2%, as a decrease for motor vehicles outweighed widespread increases in other industries.

After Passing Senate, President Signs USMCA Trade Agreement

The U.S. Senate passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on January 16 by a vote of 89-10. The trade legislation then headed to the president’s desk where he signed it on Wednesday January 29.

“USMCA is expected to boost economic growth and job creation, though only modestly,” CNBC reports. “The U.S. International Trade Commission estimates it will increase GDP by 0.35% and create 176,000 jobs.”

U.S. & China Agree to Phase 1 of Trade Deal

As part of a ‘phase 1’ trade deal with China, President Trump has “agreed to relax some of the tariffs he imposed on Chinese imports. In exchange, Beijing has agreed to buy more American products and make other changes,” NPR reports.

While most of the tariffs will remain in place, “China has promised to provide more protection for American companies' intellectual property and to stop requiring U.S. companies to share their technology as a cost of doing business in China.”

Manufacturing Jobs Declined in December

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 145,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Notable job gains occurred in retail trade and health care, while mining lost jobs.

Manufacturing employment decreased by 12,000 in December. Employment in the industry rose by 46,000 overall in 2019, after increasing by 264,000 in 2018.

CFOs More Pessimistic About 2020

According to Deloitte’s quarterly survey, expectations for a U.S. downturn have risen since earlier this year. Now 97% of CFOs saying that a downturn (a slowdown or a recession) has already begun or will occur by the end of 2020 — well up from 88% in the first quarter of 2019. Overall, 12% of CFOs say they believe a downturn has already commenced, and 14% say they already see signs of a downturn in their company’s operations.

In terms of macroeconomic expectations for 2020, CFOs cite falling expectations for consumer and business spending, and two-thirds say performance beyond 2020 will depend substantially on upcoming U.S. elections.


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