Last updateThu, 22 Oct 2020 5pm

Survey Shows Employees Feel Productive During Pandemic

An international Boston Consulting Group survey on employee sentiment reveals that productivity can be maintained surprisingly well in a virtual or hybrid work setting. The survey, conducted in the U.S., Germany, and India, also shows that there is significant appetite for flexible ways of working among employees, as well as increased openness to this from managers. As working methods become increasingly remote or hybrid in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a key question for companies is how to maintain and improve this productivity in the workplace of the future.

U.S. Added 1.4 Million Jobs in August

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 1.4 million in August, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.4%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. These improvements in the labor market reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain it.

In August, manufacturing employment rose by 29,000, with gains concentrated in the nondurable goods component (+27,000). Despite gains in recent months, employment in manufacturing is 720,000 below February's level.

U.S. Factory Orders Up for Third Straight Month

New orders for manufactured goods in July, up three consecutive months, increased $27.8 billion or 6.4% to $466.1 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in July, up three consecutive months, increased $23.7 billion or 11.4% to $231.1 billion, up from the previously published 11.2% increase. This followed a 7.7% June increase.

ISM: Manufacturing Increased for Fourth Straight Month

Manufacturing grew in August, as the PMI registered 56%, 1.8% higher than the July reading of 54.2%. “The PMI signaled a continued rebuilding of economic activity in August and reached its highest level of expansion since November 2018, when the index registered 58.8%. Five of the big six industry sectors expanded,” Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Recovery Continues in Texas Manufacturing

Texas factory activity expanded in August for the third month in a row following a record contraction in the spring after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to business executives responding to the Texas Manufacturing Outlook Survey. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, came in at 13.1, down slightly from July but still indicative of moderate growth. Perceptions of broader business conditions improved in August.

Other measures of manufacturing activity also point to expansion this month. The new orders index advanced three points to 9.8, and the growth rate of orders index surged more than 10 points to 11.8. The shipments index rose from 17.3 to 23.3, while the capacity utilization index inched down but remained positive at 10.9.

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