Industrial production in February 2017 was unchanged after a 0.1% decrease in January. Manufacturing output gained 0.5%, while mining advanced 2.7%. Due to unseasonably warm weather, the utilities index dropped 5.7%. Total industrial production in February was up 0.3% year-over-year, whereas industrial capacity utilization dipped 0.1 ppt to 75.4%, a rate that is 4.5 ppts below its 1972 to 2016 average.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) advanced 1.7 ppts in February 2017 to 57.7%, with a value above 50% signifying expansion in the manufacturing industry. February’s PMI reflects growth in 17 of 18 industries including: transportation equipment; electrical equipment; fabricated metal products; primary metals; miscellaneous manufacturing; and machinery. Metal industry-related respondents report strong order bookings and expect a robust first half of 2017.
The Consumer Confidence Index climbed 3.2 ppts to 114.8 in February 2017 from January’s reading. The index’s increase signals a more optimistic outlook on business conditions, and to a lesser extent the labor market and consumer income prospects.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in January 2017, per the full report, rose 2.0% or $4.5 billion to $230.7 billion following a 0.9% decrease in December. January shipments of manufactured durable goods increased $0.1 billion to $238.8 billion, driven by fabricated metal products, up 1.3% or $0.4 billion to $31.4 billion.
Per the second 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 February 2017, the preliminary chemical and allied products Producer Price Index rose to 274.9 from January’s reading of 273.3.