01192018Fri
Last updateFri, 19 Jan 2018 7pm

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Empire State Manufacturing Shows Strong Growth in September

Business activity continued to grow strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the September 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index held steady at 24.4. The new orders index rose four points to 24.9 and the shipments index climbed four points to 16.2, pointing to ongoing solid gains in orders and shipments. Unfilled orders increased, and delivery times continued to lengthen. Labor market indicators pointed to a modest increase in employment and hours worked. Both input prices and selling prices rose at a faster pace than last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future conditions. 


Report Says Most Manufacturing Jobs Could be Automated

McKinsey conducted a study of manufacturing work in 46 countries showing that 478 billion of the 749 billion working hours (64%) spent on manufacturing-related activities globally were automatable with currently demonstrated technology. These working hours could be eliminated or repurposed, assuming that demonstrated technologies are adapted for use in individual cases and then adopted. These figures suggest that, even though manufacturing is one of the most highly automated industries globally, there is still significant automation potential within the four walls of manufacturing sites, as well as in related functional areas such as supply chain and procurement. 

Job Openings Hit Record High in July

According to the newest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Department of Labor, job openings are up 0.9% from June 2017 to 6.2 million. This is the highest number on record, dating back to 2000, the Associated Press reports.

“Hiring also increased. But the record number of openings makes clear that employers have many jobs to fill but are still searching for qualified workers at the pay levels being offered.” 

Third Quarter GDP Forecast Down Due to Storms

“The combined destruction of property from hurricanes Irma and Harvey could range from $150 billion to $200 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from Moody's Analytics.”

CNBC reports that “the U.S. economy could suffer an additional $20 billion to $30 billion in lost economic output from the two storms. As a result, Moody's shaved its third quarter forecast for gross domestic product by half a point to 2.5%.” 

Texas Manufacturing Activity Expanded in August

Texas factory activity continued to increase in August, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, edged down to 20.3, indicating output grew but at a slightly slower pace than in July.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity also indicated continued growth. The new orders and the growth rate of orders indexes ticked down but stayed solidly positive, coming in at 14.3 and 11.7, respectively. The capacity utilization index fell six points to 12.2, while the shipments index increased seven points to 18.1.

Perceptions of broader business conditions remained positive in August. The general business activity index was largely unchanged at a robust 17.0. The company outlook index posted its 12th consecutive positive reading but slipped 10 points to 16.3 after surging to a multiyear high last month. 

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