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Last updateTue, 22 Aug 2017 6pm

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U.S. Factory Output Declined in July

Manufacturing output edged down 0.1% in July. The index for durables decreased 0.5%. Among durable manufacturing industries, with the indexes for primary metals and for furniture and related products each dropped more than 1%. The index for other manufacturing (publishing and logging) moved down 0.4%. Capacity utilization for manufacturing edged down 0.1% in July to 75.4%, a rate that is 3.0% below its long-run average.

The index for mining rose 0.5% in July for its fourth consecutive monthly increase. Within mining, gains in oil and gas extraction and in metal ore mining were partially offset by declines in nonmetallic mineral mining and in drilling and support activities. The decrease of 0.5% in drilling and support services followed 10 consecutive months of increases for that index. 


Empire State Manufacturing Index Highest in Nearly Three Years

Business activity grew strongly in New York State, according to firms responding to the August 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Survey. The headline general business conditions index climbed fifteen points to 25.2, its highest level since September 2014. The new orders index rose seven points to 20.6 and the shipments index edged up to 12.4, pointing to solid gains in orders and shipments. Delivery times continued to lengthen, and inventory levels moved lower. Labor market indicators pointed to an increase in employment and hours worked. Input prices rose at a faster clip than last month, while selling prices rose at a somewhat slower pace. Indexes assessing the six-month outlook suggested that firms were very optimistic about future conditions. 

Expansion in U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders Accelerating

June manufacturing technology orders climbed 6.5% over May, according to a report released by The Association For Manufacturing Technology (AMT). The latest U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders (USMTO) report also shows a year-over-year increase of more than 10%, the fifth consecutive month posting a year-over-year gain.

The U.S. manufacturing technology market has been weak since oil prices began to drop dramatically in June 2014. Orders peaked on a monthly basis that September at $643 million and bottomed out at $260 million in June 2016. The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS), held in September 2016, rekindled the market, but it was not until March 2017 that year-over-year numbers began to consistently show a positive, accelerating trend upwards. Now, three months later, June figures are up 10% over June 2016 and represent the volume and growth that supports an announcement that the manufacturing technology market is officially expanding. 

Houston Lags Among U.S. Counties in Manufacturing

Headlight Data released its annual rankings of the fastest-growing U.S. counties in manufacturing. Starting in 2011, the U.S. Manufacturing Industry has created jobs every year since then, a 6-year expansion that exceeds the 5-year expansion experienced 1994-1998. The manufacturing industry has created nearly 500,000 new jobs in the last 6 years, led by beverages (39%), transportation equipment (20%) and plastics & rubber products (12%).

In Texas, “Dallas County created 3,191 manufacturing jobs in 2016, according to Headlight Data. That ranked No. 3 in the U.S. for most jobs created,” the Dallas Business Journal reports. “And the county that lost the most? Harris County, home of Houston, which lost 19,000 manufacturing jobs.” 

Poll: U.S. Economic Expansion May Last Two More Years

Economists polled by Reuters believe that U.S. economic expansion will continue for at least another two years.

“The recovery from the devastating 2007-2009 financial crisis has been unusually lengthy. The latest growth stretch has already lasted 96 months, and if the poll predictions come true it would mark the longest economic expansion in more than 150 years.

“Growth has still not picked up as quickly as thought recently, leading forecasters to lower expectations again slightly in the poll of more than 100 economists taken Aug. 7-10.” 

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