Industrial production in January 2017 declined 0.3% after a 0.6% increase in December 2016. Manufacturing output gained 0.2%, while mining advanced 2.8%. Due to unseasonably warm weather, the utilities index dropped 5.7%. Total industrial production was level with January 2016, whereas industrial capacity utilization dipped 0.3 ppts to 75.3%, a rate that is 4.6 ppts below its 1972 to 2016 average.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) advanced 1.5 ppts in January 2017 to 56.0%, with a value above 50% signifying expansion in the manufacturing industry. January’s PMI reflects growth in 12 of 18 industries including: transportation equipment; fabricated metal products; primary metals; miscellaneous manufacturing; and machinery. Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components was among the five industries that contracted. Metal industry-related respondents are noting steady-to-rising demand, while sales bookings are generally increasing.
The Consumer Confidence Index fell to 111.8 in January 2017, down 1.5 ppts from 113.3 in December. The index’s change signals a more pessimistic outlook on business conditions, jobs and consumers’ income prospects.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in December 2016, per the full report, fell 0.5% or $1.1 billion to $227.1 billion following a 4.7% decrease in November. December shipments of manufactured durable goods increased 1.4% or $3.3 billion to $238.1 billion, driven by shipments of transportation equipment, which were up 2.4% or $1.9 billion to $82.2 billion.
Per the advance estimate, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in Q4 2016, versus 3.5% in Q3 2016. Q4 growth was attributed to positive contributions from, personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, residential and nonresidential fixed investment, as well as state and local government spending. The expansion was partly offset by negative contributions from exports and federal government spending, while imports, a detractor from GDP, increased.
In January 2017, the preliminary chemical and allied products Producer Price Index rose to 273.3 from December’s reading of 269.6.