Last updateMon, 19 Aug 2019 4pm

Texas Manufacturing Continues Moderate Expansion

Texas factory activity continued to expand in July, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, moved from 8.9 to 9.3, indicating output growth continued at roughly the same pace as in June.

Other measures of manufacturing activity suggested a slightly faster expansion in July. The new orders index edged up to 5.5, and the growth rate of orders index rebounded into positive territory, climbing nine points to 2.7. The capacity utilization index inched up to 11.2, and the shipments index jumped nine points to 10.2. Perceptions of broader business conditions were less negative in July.

U.S. Added 164,000 Jobs in July

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 164,000 in July and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Notable job gains occurred in professional and technical services, health care, social assistance and financial activities.

Manufacturing employment was up 16,000 in July and has changed little thus far in 2019. Job gains in the industry had averaged 22,000 per month in 2018.

Consumer Confidence Rebounds in July

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index rebounded in July, following a decrease in June. The index now stands at 135.7, up from 124.3 in June, its highest level this year.

“Consumers are once again optimistic about current and prospective business and labor market conditions. In addition, their expectations regarding their financial outlook also improved. These high levels of confidence should continue to support robust spending in the near-term despite slower growth in GDP,” said Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board.

Durable Goods Orders Increased 2.0% in June

New orders for manufactured durable goods in the U.S. increased $4.9 billion or 2.0% to $246.0 billion, the Department of Commerce announced. This June increase, up following two consecutive monthly decreases, followed a 2.3% May decrease. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 1.2%. Excluding defense, new orders increased 3.1%.

GDP Slows to 2.1% Growth in Second Quarter

The U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1% in the second quarter of 2019, according to the Department of Commerce. In the first quarter, GDP increased 3.1%. The deceleration in GDP in the second quarter reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports and nonresidential fixed investment. These downturns were partly offset by accelerations in personal consumption expenditures and federal government spending.

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