Last updateFri, 23 Jun 2017 4pm


DOL Secretary Pushes Public-Private Apprenticeships

Speaking at the G-20 labor and employment ministers' meeting on May 19, U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta emphasized his support for fostering the growth of apprenticeships, a major priority for President Trump and the Department of Labor. The secretary's remarks reinforce the U.S.’s commitment to increasing the number of quality apprenticeships, including expansion into high-growth, emerging sectors where apprenticeships have historically been rare.

“CEO after CEO has told me that they are eager to fill their vacancies, but they cannot find workers with the right skills,” said Acosta. 

Mid-Atlantic Region Factory Activity Accelerates in May

The index for current manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region increased from a reading of 22.0 in April to 38.8 this month. The index has been positive for 10 consecutive months. This month, the index recovered some of the declines of the previous two months, but it still remains slightly below its high reading of 43.3 in February. According to the Philadelphia Fed, 51% of the firms indicated increases in activity in May, while 13% reported decreases. The current new orders and shipments indexes remained at high readings. The shipments index increased 16 points, while the new orders index declined 2 points. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the seventh consecutive month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders. 

U.S. Economy Forecast for 4.1% Second Quarter Growth

The Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank’s GDPNow model forecast for real GDP growth in the second quarter of 2017 is now 4.1%, up from 3.6% on May 12.

The forecast of second-quarter real final sales to private domestic purchasers growth increased from 3.3% to 3.6% after the latest industrial production report from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. The model’s estimate of the dynamic factor for April increased from 0.32 to 0.59 after the report. The forecast of the contribution of inventory investment to second-quarter real GDP growth increased from 1.00% to 1.20% after the report. 

U.S. Manufacturing Output Posts Biggest Gain in Three Years

Industrial production advanced 1.0% in April for its third consecutive monthly increase and its largest gain since February 2014. Manufacturing output rose 1.0% as a result of widespread increases among its major industries. The indexes for mining and utilities posted gains of 1.2% and 0.7%, respectively. At 105.1% of its 2012 average, total industrial production in April was 2.2% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector increased 0.6% in April to 76.7%, a rate that is 3.2% below its long-run (1972–2016) average. 

New York Manufacturing Retreats as New Orders Fall

Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity was little changed in May. On the heels of positive readings for the prior six months, the general business conditions index retreated six points to -1.0. In all, 26% of respondents—down roughly 10% from the corresponding share in April—reported that conditions had improved over the month, while 27% reported that conditions had worsened. The new orders index fell below zero for the first time in several months, and at -4.4, pointed to a small decline in orders. The shipments index slipped to 10.6, indicating that shipments increased at a slower pace. The unfilled orders index tumbled sixteen points to -3.7. The delivery time index fell nine points to 6.7, a sign that delivery times continued to increase, though less so than last month, and the inventories index fell to -0.7, suggesting that inventory levels were stable.  

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