Last updateMon, 19 Aug 2019 4pm

U.S. Producer Prices Rise Moderately

The Producer Price Index for final demand rose 0.2% in April, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Final demand prices advanced 0.6% in March and 0.1% in February. On an unadjusted basis, the final demand index increased 2.2% for the 12 months ended in April.

Leading the April rise in the index for final demand, prices for final demand goods climbed 0.3%. The index for final demand services edged up 0.1%, and prices for final demand construction advanced 1.6%.

Texas Manufacturing Activity Picks Up Slightly

Texas factory activity continued to expand in April, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, ticked up two points to 12.4, indicating output growth accelerated slightly from March. Other measures of manufacturing activity also suggested slightly faster expansion in April.

Small Business Confidence Remains High

According to the Q2 2019 CNBC/SurveyMonkey Small Business Survey, 56% of respondents say current business conditions are “good,” compared to 52% in Q1 2019. Additionally, 60% of small business owners expect an increase in revenues, up from 57% in Q1 and 31% expect an increase in full-time employee numbers, up from 28% in Q1. Still, the overall confidence index is tempered by the diminishing positive impact of tax policy changes. Only 28% of small business owners expect changes in tax policy to have a positive effect on their businesses over the next 12 months, down from 31% in Q1 and 44% a year ago (Q2 2018.)

Manufacturing Labor Productivity Up 1.7%

Manufacturing sector labor productivity increased 1.7% in the first quarter of 2019, as output decreased 1.0% and hours worked decreased 2.6%. Productivity increased 1.4% in the durable manufacturing sector and 2.1% in the nondurable manufacturing sector in the first quarter of 2019. Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 1.2%, as output increased 1.8% and hours worked increased 0.7%. Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 0.8% in the first quarter of 2019 and decreased 0.1% from the same quarter a year ago.

U.S. Added 263,000 Jobs in April

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 0.2% to 3.6%. Notable job gains occurred in professional and business services, construction, health care and social assistance.

Manufacturing employment increased 4,000 in April. In the 12 months prior to February, the industry had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

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