03262019Tue
Last updateTue, 26 Mar 2019 2pm

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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


Manufacturing Productivity Up in Fourth Quarter

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.3% during the fourth quarter of 2018, the U.S. Department of Labor reports, as output increased 2.3% and hours worked increased 1.0%.

From the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, manufacturing productivity increased 0.7%, reflecting a 2.8% increase in output and a 2.1% increase in hours worked. Annual average productivity increased 0.6% from 2017 to 2018.

Durable manufacturing labor productivity increased 2.6%, with output increasing 5.7% and hours increasing 3.0%. Labor productivity in the nondurable manufacturing sector increased 1.2%, with output declining 1.2% and hours declining 2.4%. 

Small Businesses More Pessimistic About Economy

Small firm CEO confidence continues to sink. Economic optimism among small firms sank in the January 2019 survey to its lowest level since the presidential election. The decline in the past year was relatively steep, with the WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index falling 21% from 120.5 last January to 95.2 in January 2019. Most of the decline was due to increasingly negative views of the national economy, with current assessments falling 36% from last January and expected economic conditions down by 47%. While a decline in the pace of economic growth in 2019 has been anticipated for some time, the recent data reflect increased uncertainty due to a host of issues, including the partial government shutdown, the impact of tariffs, instabilities in financial markets, the global slowdown, and the lack of clarity about monetary policy. 

Growth in Texas Manufacturing Activity Accelerates

Texas factory activity continued to expand in January, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 7.3 to 14.5, indicating an acceleration in output growth. Perceptions of broader business conditions improved in January.

Other measures of manufacturing activity also suggested continued expansion in January, although the pace of demand growth slowed a bit. The capacity utilization index rose seven points to 14.8, and the shipments index rose five points to 11.4. Meanwhile, the new orders index edged down to 11.6 and the growth rate of new orders index fell from 5.8 to 1.2. 

U.S. Added 304,000 Jobs in January

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 304,000 in January, and the unemployment rate edged up to 4.0%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in January (+13,000). Over-the-month job gains occurred in durable goods (+20,000), while employment in nondurable goods changed little (-7,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 261,000 over the year, with more than four-fifths of the gain in durable goods industries. 

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