Last updateThu, 19 Sep 2019 4pm

Industrial Production Posts First Monthly Gain of 2019

Industrial production rose 0.4% in May after falling 0.4% in April. Manufacturing output increased 0.2% in May after having decreased about 0.4% per month, on average, in the first four months of the year. In May, the production of durable goods rose 0.3%, while the output of nondurable goods edged up 0.1%. Among durables, gains of more than 1% were posted by wood products; machinery; electrical equipment, appliances, and components; and motor vehicles and parts.

Empire State Index Posts Largest Ever Drop

Business activity took a sharp turn downward in New York State, according to firms responding to the June 2019 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index plummeted twenty-six points, its largest monthly decline on record, to -8.6. New orders receded, while shipments increased modestly. Unfilled orders fell, and delivery times and inventories moved slightly lower. Labor market indicators pointed to small declines in employment and hours worked. The pace of input price increases was little changed, while selling price increases slowed. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook indicated that firms were less optimistic about future conditions than they were last month.

World Bank: Global Growth to Weaken in 2019

Global economic growth is forecast to ease to a weaker-than-expected 2.6% in 2019 before inching up to 2.7% in 2020. Growth in emerging market and developing economies is expected to stabilize next year as some countries move past periods of financial strain, but economic momentum remains weak.

Emerging and developing economy growth is constrained by sluggish investment, and risks are tilted to the downside. These risks include rising trade barriers, renewed financial stress, and sharper-than-expected slowdowns in several major economies, the World Bank says in its June 2019 Global Economic Prospects: Heightened Tensions, Subdued Investment. Structural problems that misallocate or discourage investment also weigh on the outlook.

Survey: Companies Unprepared for Manufacturing 4.0

Only a fraction of respondents in a new Manufacturing Leadership Council survey, 13%, say that Manufacturing 4.0 concepts, requirements and challenges are well understood in their companies.

A majority of companies, 54% according to the survey, do not have formal strategies to identify and attract next-generation workers. And among the 36% that do have a strategy, only 13% consider those strategies to be very effective.

Worker Productivity Up in First Quarter

Productivity increased 3.4% in the first quarter of 2019, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. From the first quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019, productivity increased 2.4%, reflecting a 3.9% increase in output and a 1.5% increase in hours worked.

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 0.4% in the first quarter of 2019, as output decreased 2.0% and hours worked decreased 2.4%. Productivity declined 0.6% in the durable manufacturing sector, reflecting a 2.8% decrease in output and a 2.2% decrease in hours worked.

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