Issues in the Brief
Signs of Spring Growth for Manufacturers
The March 2017 Manufacturing ISM® Report on Business® indicates another solid month for a manufacturing uptick. The ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 57.2%, a 0.5 percentage point reduction from February 2017. The March data add to mounting evidence that U.S. manufacturing output performance is on track for moderate improvement up from the stagnant average growth rate of less than 1% that has plagued the factory sector since 2013.
Durable Sector Leading Factory Job Growth
The March 2017 jobs report revealed the fourth consecutive month of net new job creation in the factory sector, even as total job growth shows signs of slowing.
Manufacturing on the Mend
This morning’s release of the April manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) adds to rapidly accumulating evidence that U.S. manufacturing is accelerating modestly from the 1% growth rut that it has been stuck in since 2012.
Fed Holds Rates, Signaling Caution on Outlook
Stating “near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) elected to keep the target range for its influential federal funds rate between 0.75% and 1%, after a 25 basis point hike at the March meeting.
An Impressive Turnaround in U.S. Manufacturing Employment
With the 6,000 new factory-sector jobs in April, manufacturing employment has now increased for five consecutive months, with an average of 14,200 new jobs gained per month. This is an impressive turnaround from a particularly weak period. Overall, this is the most convincing evidence that the broad manufacturing picture is starting to show some real improvement from years of weakness.
Myth-Busting American Manufacturing
Disparaging myths have circulated about American manufacturing for decades. Parents have discouraged their children from going into a manufacturing career because they think factories are “dirty and dangerous” or lacking a solid wage and career opportunities. Manufacturers in other countries−such as Germany and Japan−are perceived as far more innovative than their U.S. counterparts. And, the most virulent rumor of all, people believe that manufacturing has vanished from the United States. When was the last time you heard, “We don’t make anything here anymore”?
U.S. Industrial Outlook: Glimmers of Light
The Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) Foundation released its quarterly forecast, U.S. Industrial Outlook: Glimmers of Light. The forecast shows positive signs of global economic stability. Low interest rates and the likelihood of fiscal policies to increase growth suggest the United States will not face a recession. However, the forecast is still indicating only modest to moderate U.S. economic performance and limited manufacturing output growth.