Last updateTue, 11 Dec 2018 8pm


ISM Survey: Manufacturers Wary, Still Expect Growth in 2019

Economic growth in the U.S. will continue in 2019, say the nation's purchasing and supply management executives in the December 2018 Semiannual Economic Forecast. Expectations are for a continuation of the growth that began in mid-2009, as indicated in the monthly ISM Report On Business.

Expectations in manufacturing for 2019 are positive, as 64% of ISM survey respondents expect revenues to be greater in 2019 than in 2018. The panel of purchasing and supply executives expects a 5.7% net increase in overall revenues for 2019, compared to a 5.1% increase predicted for 2018 over 2017 revenues. 

Job Openings at U.S. Factories at All-Time High

Job openings in the manufacturing “jumped to a new all-time high of 522,000 (this October data is up from 485,000 in September). Durable goods firms reported the most job postings in October (332,000) since January 2001, with openings for nondurable goods manufacturers (189,000) also higher for the month,” writes NAM chief economist Chad Moutray. “In addition, there were 384,000 hires in October, with 345,000 separations (which include quits, layoffs and retirements). As a result, there was net hiring of 39,000 workers in the manufacturing sector in October, the fastest pace in 14 months.” 

U.S. Factory Orders Saw Largest Drop in Over a Year

New orders for manufactured goods in October, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $10.5 billion or 2.1% to $502.7 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This followed a 0.2% September increase. Shipments, down following fifteen consecutive monthly increases, decreased $0.5 billion or 0.1% to $508.4 billion. This followed a 0.7% September increase. 

U.S. Added 155,000 Jobs in November

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 155,000 in November, and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.7%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Job gains occurred in health care, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing.

In November, manufacturing added 27,000 jobs, with increases in chemicals (+6,000) and primary metals (+3,000). Manufacturing employment has increased by 288,000 over the year, largely in durable goods industries. 

Federal Reserve: Tariff Effects Spread Across U.S.

Most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts reported that their economies expanded at a modest or moderate pace from mid-October through late November, though both Dallas and Philadelphia noted slower growth compared with the prior Beige Book period. St. Louis and Kansas City noted just slight growth. On balance, consumer spending held steady.

Tariffs remained a concern for manufacturers, but a majority of Districts continued to report moderate growth in the sector. Reports of tariff-induced cost increases have spread more broadly from manufacturers and contractors to retailers and restaurants. 

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