05192019Sun
Last updateThu, 16 May 2019 4pm

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Durable Goods Orders Down 1.6% in February

New orders for manufactured durable goods in February decreased $4.2 billion or 1.6% to $250.6 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This decrease, down following three consecutive monthly increases, followed a 0.1% January increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.9%. Transportation equipment, also down following three consecutive monthly increases, drove the decrease, $4.3 billion or 4.8% to $86.0 billion.


ISM: Manufacturing Still Solid in March

Manufacturing expanded in March, as the PMI registered 55.3%, an increase of 1.1% from the February reading of 54.2%. This indicates growth in manufacturing for the 31st consecutive month.

“Comments from the panel reflect continued expanding business strength, supported by gains in new orders and employment,” said Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Overall, inputs continue to reflect an easing business environment, but to a lesser extent than in February, confirmed by the Prices Index returning to expansion.”

U.S. Economy Grew 2.9% in 2018

Real gross domestic product (GDP) in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 2.2% (down from the original estimate of 2.6%) in the fourth quarter of 2018, according to the third estimate released by the Department of Commerce. In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4%.

Real GDP increased 2.9% in 2018, compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2017.

NABE Survey Predicts GDP Slowdown

According to the March 2019 National Association for Business Economics (NABE) Outlook Survey, real GDP growth will slow from 2.9% in 2018 to 2.4% in 2019, and to 2.0% in 2020. The anticipated growth rate for 2019 is lower than the 2.5% percent forecasted in the December 2018 survey. The panel has turned less optimistic about the outlook since the previous survey, as three-quarters of respondents see risks tilted to the downside, and only 6% perceive risks to the upside.

Texas Manufacturing Activity Continues to Grow

Texas factory activity continued to expand in March, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, held fairly steady at 11.5, indicating output growth continued at about the same pace as last month.

Other measures of manufacturing activity also suggested continued expansion in March, although demand growth slowed. Perceptions of broader business conditions continued to improve in March, although outlooks were less optimistic than in February. The general business activity index remained positive but fell five points to 8.3. Similarly, the company outlook index stayed in positive territory but fell from 14.2 to 6.0. The index measuring uncertainty regarding companies’ outlooks was largely unchanged at a 10-month low of 3.4.

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