April 5, 2021

PMI Readings Show Improvement In U.S., Canadian Manufacturing Sectors


  • The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index for the United States registered 64.7 percent in March, an increase of 3.9 percentage points from February and the highest ready for the survey in 37 years. The figure indicated expansion in the overall economy for the 10th month in a row. Readings for new orders, production, and employment all improved. Read the full report here.
  • The IHS Markit Canada PMI rose to 58.5 in March from 54.8 in February, posting the highest reading in the 10-year history of the survey. The new orders index increased to 58.0, its highest since November 2013, from 54.4 in February. IHS’ reading for output was at 57.7, up from 52.0. Read the full report here.
  • The Canadian economy grew 0.7 percent in January and appears to have expanded almost as much in February, according to The Canadian Press. January’s reading for real gross domestic product (GDP) compared to a gain of 0.1 per cent in December, and topped preliminary estimates for the month, which had previewed a 0.5 percent expansion. It was the ninth consecutive monthly GDP increase in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down businesses last March.
  • U.S. employers added 916,000 jobs in March, the strongest jobs gain since August 2020. Goods-producing industries added 183,000 workers. Since May 2020, the labor market has recovered 62 percent of the 22 million net jobs lost in March and April 2020, which leaves U.S. employment levels about 8.4 million below their February 2020 threshold. The nation’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points to six percent, and the labor force participation rate rose to 61.5 percent. Since February 2020, about 3.9 million workers have left the workforce. Read the full report here. In related news: the number of weekly unemployment claims in the United States rose above 700,000 during the week of March 27 after briefly dipping below the pre-COVID pandemic record for the first time since March 2020.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced last week that Texas factory activity expanded at a markedly faster pace in March. The general business activity index rose 12 points to 28.9 while the company outlook index shot up 15 points to 25.8, its highest reading since mid-2018. The production index, a key measure of state manufacturing conditions, also rose, surging 28 points to 48.0, its highest reading in the survey’s 17-year history, while new orders index rose 18 points to 30.5. Read the full report here.
  • In other economic news: U.S. auto sales 11 percent in the first quarter of 2021; U.S. construction spending fell 0.8 percent from January 2021 to February 2021, but was up 5.3 percent from February 2020 to February 2021; and the Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index surged in March to its highest reading in a year, rising to 109.7 from 90.4 in February.