For July 2015, industrial production increased 0.6%. Manufacturing output advanced 0.8% with support from a strong automotive sector, while the mining index improved 0.2%. Utilities output decreased 0.1%. Total industrial production in July 2015 was 1.3% above levels in the same month a year prior, and industrial capacity utilization increased 0.3 percentage points to 78.0%, which is 2.1% below its 1972 to 2014 average.
The Purchasing Manager Index (PMI) decreased 0.8% in July to 52.7%, with a value above 50 signifying expansion in the manufacturing industry. The outlook is mixed, as some industries are experiencing stable business conditions, while others are grappling with a seasonal slowdown. In the meantime, oil and gas markets are still reeling from the oil price shock, and uncertainty in international markets is causing some apprehension. July’s PMI reflects growth in 11 of 18 manufacturing industries including electrical equipment, fabricated metal products, appliances & components, transportation equipment and miscellaneous manufacturing.
The Consumer Confidence Index sank to 90.9 in July 2015, the lowest level since September 2014. Consumers’ attitudes on the current economic climate were slightly less optimistic while the short-term outlook worsened considerably. Uncertainty in financial markets, due to the economic crisis in Greece and the waning Chinese economy, contributed to consumer concern. Expectations regarding the labor market were negative, with a greater proportion of people anticipating less jobs and falling income in the months ahead.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in June 2015 advanced 3.4% or $7.7 billion to $234.9 billion, after two consecutive monthly declines. Transportation equipment drove the increase, climbing 9.3% or $6.7 billion to $78.5 billion. June’s shipments of manufactured durable goods edged up 0.5% or $1.2 billion to $240.0 billion, following two successive monthly decreases.
Per the advance estimate, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.3% in Q2 2015, versus 0.6% growth in Q1 2015. Q2 2015 expansion was attributed to gains in personal consumption expenditures, state and local government spending, exports and residential fixed investment, which were partially offset by declines in federal government spending, nonresidential fixed investment and private inventory investment along with higher import volumes.
In July 2015, the chemical and allied products PPI increased to 269.5 from June’s reading of 268.2.