Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm


Texas Manufacturing Expansion Continues Amid Uncertainty

Texas factory activity continued to expand in September, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, dipped six points to 23.3, indicating output growth continued but at a slower pace than last month. Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive this month, although outlooks were less optimistic, and uncertainty increased further.

Other indexes of manufacturing activity also suggested slower expansion in September. The new orders index fell nine points to 14.7, its lowest reading in six months. Similarly, the growth rate of orders index slipped to 11.5, also a six-month low. The capacity utilization index retreated slightly to 21.6, while the shipments index fell five points to 20.8.  

Consumer Confidence Jumps Again in September

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in September, following a large improvement in August. The Index now stands at 138.4, up from 134.7 in August.

“After a considerable improvement in August, Consumer Confidence increased further in September and hovers at an 18-year high,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “The September reading is not far from the all-time high of 144.7 reached in 2000.” 

China Cancels Further Trade Talks with U.S.

“China has scrapped planned trade talks with the U.S. and is unlikely to sit down with Washington until after November’s mid-term elections,” Bloomberg reports.

“In addition to new tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods set to go into effect Sept. 24, the U.S. State Department sanctions against China’s defense agency and its director on Thursday contributed to the ultimate decision to cancel the talks.”


U.S. Hiring Outlook Strongest in a Decade

Employers across the U.S. plan to add staff in the next three months with a Net Employment Outlook of +19%, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey. The survey of more than 11,500 U.S. employers reports the strongest average annual Outlook on record in the last decade with +19% anticipating growth. All 13 industry sectors forecast optimistic hiring plans.

Hiring prospects in the South (+20%) are the strongest in 10 years driven by an uptick in durable goods manufacturing (+18%). Employers in the Midwest region anticipate sustained hiring for the third consecutive quarter (+19%). 

Industrial Production Increased in August

U.S. Industrial production rose 0.4% in August for its third consecutive monthly increase. Manufacturing output increased 0.2% in August and was 3.1% higher than its year-earlier level. The index for durables rose 1.0%. Within durables, the largest increases were recorded by motor vehicles and parts, primary metals, and machinery, while the only sizable decrease was registered by furniture and related products. 

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