Last updateTue, 16 Jul 2019 2pm


Economists Predict Growth Slowdown in 2019

According to the April 2019 NABE Business Conditions Survey, respondents expect the U.S. economy, as measured by the change in inflation-adjusted gross domestic product (real GDP), to increase over the next four quarters. However, barely half (53%) of the panelists expects real GDP to rise by more than 2%, compared to 67% of respondents in the January survey.

Durable Goods Orders Up 2.7% in March

New orders for manufactured durable goods in March increased $6.8 billion or 2.7% to $258.5 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.1% February decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.4%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 2.3%.

U.S. GDP Beats Expectations, Up 3.2% in First Quarter

U.S. GDP increased at an annual rate of 3.2% in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Department of Commerce. In the fourth quarter of 2018, GDP increased 2.2%. The increase reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, state & local government spending and nonresidential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased. These contributions were partly offset by a decrease in residential investment.

Labor Market Remains Tight, Economy Continues to Grow

Economic activity in the U.S. expanded at a slight-to-moderate pace in March and early April, according to the Federal Reserve. While most Districts reported that growth continued at a similar pace as the previous report, a few Districts reported some strengthening. There was little change in the outlook among contacts in reporting Districts, with those expecting slight-to-modest growth in the months ahead.

Reports on manufacturing activity were favorable, although contacts in many Districts noted trade-related uncertainty.

Leading Economic Indicators Up Slightly in March

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.4% in March to 111.9, following a 0.1% increase in February, and no change in January. In March the LEI for the U.S. recorded its largest monthly increase since September of last year. However, its six-month growth has continued to slow in the past several months.

In the six-month period ending March 2019, the leading economic index increased 0.4% (about a 0.7% annual rate), much slower than the growth of 2.8% (about a 5.6% annual rate) during the previous six months.

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