Last updateWed, 28 Jun 2017 3pm


U.S. Economic Picture for First Half of 2017 Changes Little

Economic indicators released in May and June point to continued moderate growth and a mostly unchanged outlook for the U.S. The economy is approaching full employment, long-term inflation expectations remain anchored despite a recent dip in inflation, and real GDP is projected to grow at a moderate rate in 2017 and 2018.

The second revision for real GDP growth in first quarter 2017 shifted upward from 0.7% to 1.2%—weak relative to 2.1% in fourth quarter 2016. However, forecasts point to stronger growth beginning in the current quarter. 

Global Spending on Robots to Hit $87 Billion by 2025

The global market for robotics is growing far faster than expected and is projected to reach $87 billion by 2025, according to new research by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Updating its previous estimate of $67 billion from three years ago, the BCG recently revised its forecast sharply higher, mostly because of soaring consumer demand. BCG projects an additional $14 billion of growth in the consumer sector to $23 billion, an increase of 156% over its earlier estimate.

Many factors contributed to the need to revamp the estimates. First, in the space of just one year, from 2014 to 2015, private investment in the robotics space tripled, according to BCG. Fueling the surge in interest are falling prices, rapidly advancing capabilities and components usable in a far wider range of industries and applications than many observers had originally envisioned. 

Philly Manufacturing Continued to Expand in June

The Philadelphia Federal Reserve’s index for current manufacturing activity in the region decreased from a reading of 38.8 in May to 27.6 this month. The index has been positive for 11 consecutive months. In June 42% of the firms indicated increases in activity, down from 51% last month. The shipments index decreased 11 points, while the new orders index was little changed. Both the delivery times and unfilled orders indexes were positive for the eighth consecutive month, suggesting longer delivery times and increases in unfilled orders. 

New York Manufacturing at Highest Level in Nearly Three Years

Manufacturing firms in New York State reported that business activity grew at a solid clip in June. After dropping to a level just below zero last month, the general business conditions index more than made up for lost ground, rising twenty-one points to 19.8, its highest level since September 2014. The pace of input price increases was unchanged, while selling price increases picked up somewhat.

New York Fed indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms continued to expect conditions to improve. 

U.S. Manufacturing Output Declined in May

Industrial production was unchanged in May following a large increase in April and smaller increases in February and March. Manufacturing output declined 0.4% in May; the index is little changed, on net, since February. The indexes for mining and utilities posted gains of 1.6% and 0.4%, respectively, in May. At 105.0% of its 2012 average, total industrial production in May was 2.2% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector edged down 0.1% in May to 76.6%, a rate that is 3.3% below its long-run (1972–2016) average. 

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