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Last updateMon, 25 Mar 2019 8pm

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Small Business Optimism Down a Fifth Straight Month

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index slipped 3.2 points in January, as owners continued hiring and investing, but expressed rising concern about future economic growth. The 101.2 reading, the lowest since the weeks leading up to the 2016 elections, remains well above the historical average of 98, but indicates uncertainty among small business owners due to the 35-day government shutdown and financial market instability. The NFIB Uncertainty Index rose seven points to 86, the fifth highest reading in the survey’s 45-year history. 


Industrial Production Down in January

According to the Federal Reserve, U.S. industrial production decreased 0.6% in January after rising 0.1% in December. Manufacturing output decreased 0.9% in January to a level that was, nonetheless, 2.9% above a year earlier. The output of durable goods moved down 1.7%. Only fabricated metal products and furniture posted gains. 

Global Manufacturing PMI Sinks at Start of 2019

Growth of the global manufacturing sector slowed closer to stagnation in January. At 50.7, the J.P.Morgan Global Manufacturing PMI fell for the ninth straight month to its lowest reading since August 2016.

The U.S. remained one of the stronger performing nations in January, with its PMI rising to buck the slowing trend seen at the global level. Moreover, if U.S. data were excluded from the Global Manufacturing PMI calculation the reading would have been 50.0, a level signaling stagnation. The slowdown in China manufacturing was the main drag, as the China PMI fell to a near three-year low. The euro area and Japan PMIs fell to 50- and 29-month lows respectively.  

Manufacturing Technology Orders Up 19% Over 2017

U.S. manufacturing technology orders posted $443 million in December, down 2% from November and 6% from December 2017. The year-end order total for 2018 was $5.5 billion, up 19% from the annual sum for 2017. The November to December drop was only the fourth time in the program’s 23-year history that a year didn’t end with an uptick in orders from November. Geographically, the Northeast and West were the strongest markets in December, each posting single-digit gains over November levels. 

Durable Goods Orders Up 0.7% in November

 New orders for manufactured goods in November, down two consecutive months, decreased $3.1 billion or 0.6% to $499.2 billion.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in November, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $1.8 billion or 0.7% to $250.8 billion, down from the previously published 0.8% increase. This followed a 4.3% October decrease, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported

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