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Last updateFri, 15 Dec 2017 3pm

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U.S. Factory Goods Orders Rose 1.4% In Sept.

New orders for manufactured goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $6.5 billion or 1.4% to $478.5 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reports. This followed a 1.2% August increase. Shipments, up nine of the last ten months, increased $3.9 billion or 0.8% to $480.4 billion. This followed a 0.6% August increase.

New orders for durable goods in September, up three of the last four months, increased $4.7 billion or 2.0% to $238.4 billion, down from the previously published 2.2% increase. This followed a 2.1% August increase. 


U.S. Added 261,000 Jobs in October

Employment rose by 261,000 in October, and the unemployment rate edged down to 4.1%, the lowest since 2000. Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. In October, job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing and health care.

Manufacturing employment rose by 24,000 in October, with job gains in computer and electronic products (+5,000) and chemicals (+4,000). Employment in fabricated metals continued to trend up (+4,000). Manufacturing has added 156,000 jobs since a recent employment low in November 2016. 

Mid-America Business Conditions at Healthy Level

The October Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index indicates healthy economic growth ahead. The Business Conditions Index rose to 58.8, its highest reading in four months and up from 58.2 in September. This is the 11th straight month the index has remained above growth neutral, continuing to point to positive growth for the region over the next three to six months.

“Both the national and our regional indices indicate the manufacturing sector is expanding at a very healthy pace and that this expansion will spill over into the broader national and regional economies in the next three to six months. For the first time in years, we are not tracking consistent growth in the durable goods sector,” said Creighton University’s Ernie Goss. 

ISM: Manufacturing Expansion Continues

Manufacturing expanded in October as the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index registered 58.7%, a decrease of 2.1% from the September reading of 60.8%. This indicates growth in manufacturing for the 14th consecutive month and continues expansion consistent with pre-hurricane levels. A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.

“Manufacturers have put the pedal to the metal, helped by a steady growth at home, an improved global economy and a cheaper dollar that’s boosted U.S. exports,” MarketWatch reports. 

Growth in Texas Manufacturing Activity Gains Momentum

Texas factory activity expanded at a faster pace in October, according to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose six points to 25.6 and reached its highest reading since April 2014.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also indicated a pickup in growth. The new orders index climbed six points to a 10-year high of 24.8, and the growth rate of orders index moved up to 12.3. The capacity utilization index also pushed to its highest level in a decade at 22.5. Meanwhile, the shipments index moved down several points but remained positive and at a well-above-average level of 20.9. 

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