Last updateThu, 16 May 2019 4pm


Manufacturing Labor Productivity Up 1.7%

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.7% in the first quarter of 2019, as output decreased 1.0% and hours worked decreased 2.6%. Productivity increased 1.4% in the durable manufacturing sector and 2.1% in the nondurable manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2019. Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 1.2%, as output increased 1.8% and hours worked increased 0.7%. Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 0.8% in the first quarter of 2019 and decreased 0.1% from the same quarter a year ago.

U.S. Added 263,000 Jobs in April

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 0.2% to 3.6%. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care and social assistance.

Manufacturing employment increased 4,000 in April. In the 12 months prior to February, the industry had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

Manufacturing Expands at Slowest Pace Since Fall 2016

Manufacturing expanded in April, as the PMI registered 52.8%, a decrease of 2.5% from the March reading of 55.3%. This indicates growth in manufacturing for the 32nd consecutive month, according to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). The PMI reversed a March expansion improvement, thanks to decreases in new orders, production expansion and employment.

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%.

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