11152018Thu
Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm

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Midwest Manufacturing Grew at Slowest Pace Since Jan. 2017

The October Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index, an economic indicator for the nine-state region stretching from Minnesota to Arkansas, fell to 54.9 from September’s strong 57.5. This is the 23rd straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0 but dropped to the lowest reading since January 2017. Approximately 60.0% of supply managers indicated that rising tariffs had made it more difficult, or expensive, to purchase from abroad (up from 40.8% in September). 


U.S. Consumer Confidence Rises to 18-Year High

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased again in October, following a modest improvement in September. The index now stands at 137.9, up from 135.3 in September.

“Consumer Confidence increased in October, following a modest gain in September, and remains at levels last seen in the fall of 2000,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of present-day conditions remains quite positive, primarily due to strong employment growth. The Expectations Index posted another gain in October, suggesting that consumers do not foresee the economy losing steam anytime soon. Rather, they expect the strong pace of growth to carry over into early 2019.” 

Texas Manufacturing Expands at Slower Pace in October

Texas factory activity continued to expand in October, albeit at a slower pace, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, was positive but declined another six points to 17.6, indicating output growth continued to abate.

“This was a positive report for Texas manufacturing, although it did show another month of easing in the pace of growth. However, outlooks improved further, and several contacts noted that uncertainty declined,” said Emily Kerr, Dallas Fed senior business economist. 

Third Quarter GDP Increased at 3.5% Pace

GDP in the U.S. increased at a faster than expected annual rate of 3.5% in the third quarter of 2018, according to the Department of Commerce. In the second quarter, GDP increased 4.2%.

The increase in GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, state and local government spending, federal government spending, and nonresidential fixed investment that were partly offset by negative contributions from exports and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased. 

Durable Goods Orders Up 0.8% in September

New orders for manufactured durable goods in September increased $2.0B or 0.8% to $262.1 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced. This increase, up three of the last four months, followed a 4.6% August increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.1%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 0.6%. Transportation equipment, also up three of the last four months, led the increase, $1.8 billion or 1.9% to $97.4 billion. 

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