Last updateTue, 19 Feb 2019 5pm


U.S. Factory Activity at Highest Level in 14 Years

Manufacturing expanded in August as the PMI registered 61.3%, an increase of 3.2% from the July reading of 58.1%. “This indicates strong growth in manufacturing for the 24th consecutive month, led by continued expansion in all subindexes that make up the PMI. The PMI reached its highest level since May 2004, when it registered 61.4%,” says Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. 

Alabama Named Top Manufacturing State by Global Trade

Global Trade selected Alabama as the nation’s top state for manufacturing in a new ranking. The magazine cited the growth of Alabama’s auto manufacturing industry and its leadership position in aerospace production, as well as job training provided by AIDT, the state’s primary workforce development agency.

In addition, the publication credited the AdvantageSites program for the state’s success in the manufacturing industry. This program pre-certifies sites for development and is known for rapid permitting, which is coordinated by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management to accelerate projects. 

Construction Firms Report Difficulty Filling Craft Positions

According to the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), 80% of construction firms report they are having a hard time filling hourly craft positions that represent the bulk of the construction workforce. AGC officials said shortages pose a significant risk to future economic growth and they released a new workforce development plan to solve the growing problem. Craft worker shortages are severe in all four regions of the country. The labor shortages come as demand for construction continues to grow. 

Consumer Confidence Rose in August

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index increased in August, following a modest increase in July. The index now stands at 133.4, up from 127.9 in July. The present situation index improved from 166.1 to 172.2, while the expectations index increased from 102.4 last month to 107.6 this month.

“Consumers’ assessment of current business and labor market conditions improved further. Expectations, which had declined in June and July, bounced back in August and continue to suggest solid economic growth for the remainder of 2018. Overall, these historically high confidence levels should continue to support healthy consumer spending in the near-term,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. 

U.S. Durable Goods Orders Fell 1.7% in July

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July decreased $4.3 billion or 1.7% to $246.9 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department announced. This decrease, down three of the last four months, followed a 0.7% June increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2%. Excluding defense, new orders decreased 1.0%. Transportation equipment, also down three of the last four months, drove the decrease, $4.6 billion or 5.3% to $82.8 billion. 

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