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Manufacturing & The Economy

BLS: U.S. Added 209,000 Jobs in July

The U.S. added 209,000 jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is the sixth straight month with at least 200,000 jobs added, the longest such streak in 17 years. Revisions to May and June netted another 15,000 jobs. The unemployment rate increased slightly, to 6.2%, primarily due to an increase in labor force participation.

Gains occurred in the in professional and business services, manufacturing, retail trade and construction sectors.

Manufacturing accounted for 28,000 new jobs in July. Over the prior 12 months, manufacturing had added an average of 12,000 jobs per month, primarily in durable goods industries. 

Consumer Confidence Improved Again in July

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had improved in June, increased in July. The Index now stands at 90.9, up from 86.4 in June. The Present Situation Index increased to 88.3 from 86.3, while the Expectations Index rose to 92.7 from 86.4 in June.

“Consumer confidence increased for the third consecutive month and is now at its highest level since October 2007 (95.2). Strong job growth helped boost consumers’ assessment of current conditions, while brighter short-term outlooks for the economy and jobs, and to a lesser extent personal income, drove the gain in expectations. Recent improvements in consumer confidence, in particular expectations, suggest the recent strengthening in growth is likely to continue into the second half of this year,” says Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board. 

Second Quarter GDP Beats Estimates, Rises Four Percent

Real GDP in the U.S. increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in the second quarter of 2014, according to the advance estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 2.1% (revised). The second estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 28, 2014.

This upturn in the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upturns in private inventory investment and in exports, an acceleration in personal consumption expenditures (PCE), an upturn in state and local government spending, an acceleration in nonresidential fixed investment, and an upturn in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by an acceleration in imports. 

Texas Manufacturing Activity Picks Up Pace Again

Texas factory activity increased again in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, rose from 15.5 to 19.1, indicating output grew at a faster pace than in June.

Other measures of current manufacturing activity reflected significantly stronger growth in July. The new orders index doubled from 6.5 to 13. The capacity utilization index also posted a strong rise, moving to 18 from 9.2 in June. The shipments index rose 12 points to 22.8, reaching its highest level since January 2013. The July readings for these indexes were all more than twice their 10-year averages, suggesting notably robust manufacturing growth.

Perceptions of broader business conditions were more optimistic this month. The general business activity index edged up from 11.4 to 12.7, pushing to its highest level in 10 months. The company outlook index rose 3 points to 11.3. 

June Durable Goods Orders Up 0.7%

New orders for manufactured durable goods in June increased $1.8 billion or 0.7% to $239.9 billion, the U.S. Census Bureau announced Friday. This increase, up four of the last five months, followed a 1.0% May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.8%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 0.7%.

Machinery, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, led the increase, $0.9 billion or 2.4% to $37.3 billion.

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