U.S. Industrial Production Declines Due To Winter Weather
- According to the Federal Reserve, total U.S. industrial production decreased 2.2 percent in February. Manufacturing output and mining production fell 3.1 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, while the output of utilities increased 7.4 percent. The severe winter weather in the south central region of the country in mid-February accounted for the bulk of the declines. Excluding the effects of the winter weather would have resulted in an index for manufacturing that fell about half percent, for example. Even adjusting for weather, however, both the manufacturing and mining indexes still would have remained below their pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels. Click here to read the full report.
- Canadian manufacturing sales increased 3.1 percent to $56.2 billion in January 2021. Not only did this reading beat analyst expectations, sales are now higher than their February 2020, pre-pandemic level.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s manufacturing index for its region rose five points to 17.4, its highest level since last summer. New orders increased modestly, but shipments were up substantially. Delivery times continued to lengthen, inventories were somewhat higher, and employment levels increased modestly. Firms also remained optimistic that conditions would improve over the next six months. Click here to read the full report.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia announced that its manufacturing index for the Pennsylvania and New Jersey region expanded at the fastest pace since April 1974, with the composite index rising from 23.1 in February to 51.8 in March. The index for new orders jumped from 23.4 to 50.9 and readings for shipments, employment, and the average employee workweek also strengthened in the latest data. Click here to read the full report.
- The U.S. Department of Labor announced that 770,000 Americans filed initial jobless claims during the week that ended March 12, 2021. That figure was up 45,000 from the previous week’s level and was about 70,000 higher than expected. The number of new claims remains above the record set prior to the pandemic, which was 695,000. The number of claims is also still higher than any week during the Great Recession. Click here to read the full report.
- In other news: Statistics Canada announced that inflation increased 1.1 percent between February 2020 and February 2021; the Conference Board Leading Economic Index, a key gauge of future growth, rose 0.2 percent in February to 110.5 following a 0.5 percent increase in January; and the number of new homes under construction in the United States fell 10.3 percent from January 2021 to February 2021 and 9.3 percent from February 2020 to February 2021.