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Last updateFri, 20 Apr 2018 5pm

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G-7 Nations Expect Further Growth After Strong 2017

“The global economy found its post-crisis footing in 2017, with most major developing economies surprising on the upside,” Bloomberg reports.

“Comparing 2017 predictions made a year ago versus the likely outturn -- based on the latest forecasts in Bloomberg’s monthly survey -- shows that the pessimists called this one wrong. One of the biggest surprises was the euro area, set for its strongest expansion in a decade. At 2.3 percent, the expected growth is far above the 1.4 percent pace predicted at the start of the year.” 


Texas Manufacturing Activity Shows Robust Growth

Texas factory activity expanded strongly in December, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, spiked 18 points to 32.8, reaching its highest level in more than 11 years.

Other measures of manufacturing activity also pointed to more rapid growth in December. The new orders index jumped 10 points to 30.1, another 11-year high, and the growth rate of orders index moved up to 21.4. The capacity utilization index increased nine points to 26.3, and the shipments index rose from 16.7 to 21.5 this month. 

House, Senate Pass Tax Reform Legislation

After the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Tuesday by a vote of 227-203, the Senate passed the bill early Wednesday morning by a vote of 51-48. The House will revote on a final version after some provisions were found to violate Senate rules. When finally signed into law, the bill would cut the corporate tax rate for the first time in 30 years.

“When this bill becomes law, manufacturers in America will be more competitive than they have been in decades,” said NAM president Jay Timmons. “Manufacturers do wish that some elements of the bill had been more pro-growth, and the NAM will continue working with Congress to improve on this foundation in the years to come. We reiterate our call for a triennial government study to see how our tax code compares to nations around the word--and determine what we can do to become even more competitive.” 

Empire State Manufacturing Grew at Slower Pace in December

Business activity continued to grow at a solid clip in New York State, according to firms responding to the December 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index, at 18.0, remained close to last month’s level. The new orders index and the shipments index both showed sustained strong gains, with the former holding steady at 19.5 and the latter edging up to 22.4. Delivery times were slightly longer than last month, and inventory levels were stable. Labor market indicators pointed to a small increase in employment but no change in hours worked. Both input prices and selling prices rose at a somewhat faster pace than last month. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms remained optimistic about future business conditions. 

U.S. Industrial Production Up 0.2% in November

Industrial production moved up 0.2% in November after posting an upwardly revised increase of 1.2% in October. Manufacturing production also rose 0.2% in November, its third consecutive monthly gain, and was 2.4% above its year-earlier level.

The increase in November reflected a gain of 0.4% for durables. The index for nondurable manufacturing was unchanged, and the index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) dropped 1.4%. Within durable manufacturing, gains were widespread, with the largest being the advance of 1.7% registered by primary metals. 

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