Industrial production in November 2016 edged down 0.4% from October. Manufacturing output was off 0.1% while the utilities index declined 4.4% due to warmer-than-normal weather, however, mining rose 1.1%. Total industrial production was down 0.6% versus November 2015 while industrial capacity utilization decreased 0.4 ppt to 75.0%, a rate that is 5.0 ppts below its 1972 to 2015 average.
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) advanced 1.5 ppts in December 2016 to 54.7%, with a value above 50% signifying expansion in the manufacturing industry. December’s PMI reflects growth in 11 of 18 industries including: primary metals; miscellaneous manufacturing; machinery; electrical equipment, appliances & components; and fabricated metal products. Transportation equipment was among the six industries that contracted. Assessments from metal industry-related respondents were positive as December 2016 activity outpaced 2015 levels, while demand appears to be rising in Q1 2017.
The Consumer Confidence Index rose to 113.7 in December 2016, up 4.3 ppts from 109.4 in November. The index’s change signals a more optimistic economic outlook following the presidential election. The improvement was driven by a sharp increase in short-term expectations regarding business conditions, the labor market, stock prices and income prospects.
New orders for manufactured durable goods in November 2016, per the full report, declined 4.5% or $10.8 billion to $228.8 billion following a 5.0% gain in October. November shipments of manufactured durable goods increased 0.1% or $0.2 billion to $234.2 billion, driven by shipments of primary metals, which were up 2.0% or $0.4 billion to $18.1 billion.
Per the third estimate, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at an annual rate of 3.5% in Q3 2016, versus 1.4% expansion in Q2 2016. Q3 growth was attributed to positive contributions from nonresidential fixed investment, personal consumption expenditures, federal government spending, private inventory investment and exports. Imports, a detractor from GDP, increased.
In November 2016, the preliminary chemical and allied products Producer Price Index (PPI) rose to 271.1 from October’s reading of 268.7.