Last updateWed, 24 May 2017 2pm


U.S. Added 235,000 Jobs in February

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February and the unemployment rate was down 0.1% to 4.7%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care and mining.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs. 

Construction Index Up 22% Year Over Year

The Dodge Momentum Index rose 1.6% in February to 144.0 from its revised January reading of 141.7. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. February’s increase was due to a 4.4% jump in institutional planning, while commercial planning slipped slightly, falling 0.3% for the month. The Momentum Index has now increased for five consecutive months; however, the underlying components continue to be volatile on a month-to-month basis as large projects continue to sway the data. The overall trend, however, is rising. On a year-over-year basis the Momentum Index is 22% higher, with commercial planning up 28% and institutional planning moving 15% ahead of last year. This suggests that construction activity will continue to see further growth as the year progresses. 

U.S. Factory Orders Up for Second Straight Month

New orders for manufactured goods in January, up six of the last seven months, increased $5.5 billion or 1.2% to $470.2 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reports. This followed a 1.3% December increase. Shipments, up ten of the last eleven months, increased $1.1 billion or 0.2% to $478.3 billion. This followed a 2.5% December increase.

New orders for durable goods in January, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, increased $4.5 billion or 2.0% to $230.7 billion, up from the previously published 1.8% increase. This followed a 0.9% December decrease. 

GE, Siemens Vie for Definitive 'Internet of Things' Cloud Platform

“At issue is who will create and dominate a realm of technology that promises both to become the backbone of industrial automation and provide mountains of data about everything from parts inventories to how products are wearing long after their purchase,” according to Dow Jones Newswires.

“The fast-growing market could be worth more than $150 billion in three years, according to research firm Markets & Markets. That could top the crowded consumer mobile-app market, with its flood of small transactions, according to some estimates. The industrial-app world involves fewer but more specialized big-ticket corporate investments.” 

Consumer Confidence at Highest Level Since July 2001

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had declined moderately in January, increased in February. The Index now stands at 114.8, up from 111.6 in January.

“Consumer confidence increased in February and remains at a 15-year high (July 2001, 116.3),” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers rated current business and labor market conditions more favorably this month than in January. Expectations improved regarding the short-term outlook for business, and to a lesser degree jobs and income prospects. Overall, consumers expect the economy to continue expanding in the months ahead.” 

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