September 18, 2023

U.S. Industrial Production Improves

Connecting the Dots monitors all major economic announcements in the United States and Canada, but MSCI also offers industrial metals industry-specific data products that provide much deeper analysis and insight. Visit MSCI’s website and click on industry data to learn more about our Metals Activity Report (MAR)Momentum Monitors, and Economic Pulse.

Meanwhile, here are the major economic headlines from the last week:

  • Overall U.S. industrial production increased 0.4 percent in August. Manufacturing output inched up 0.1 percent, but was held back by a five percent decline in output of motor vehicles and parts. The Federal Reserve’s index for mining moved up 1.4 percent while the index for utilities climbed 0.9 percent. Read more here.
  • Following a two percent drop in June, Canadian manufacturing sales increased 1.6 percent to $71.9 billion in July, led primarily by higher sales of food products (up 3.1 percent), petroleum and coal products (up 4.6 percent), and transportation equipment (up 2.4 percent).
  • U.S. wholesale sales rose 0.8 percent from June 2023 to July 2023, but were down 4.2 percent from July 2022. Total wholesale inventories were down 0.2 percent for month, meanwhile, but up 0.5 percent year-over-year.
  • Wholesale sales in Canada were up 0.2 percent from June 2023 to July 2023 to $81.3 billion. The growth was driven by the motor vehicle and building material subsectors. Wholesale sales increased 1.1 percent from July 2022 to July 2023.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said the manufacturing index for its region rose 21 points to +1.9. New orders and shipments improved and delivery times were steady, but inventories continued to fall. Labor market indicators also pointed to a slight decline in employment levels and the average workweek. Read the full report here.
  • According to FreightWeek, container imports at U.S. ports rose 2.5 percent from August 2022 to August 2023 and are now higher than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Facilities also handled five percent more imports in August than in July and expect ports to see more than two million 20-foot equivalent units per month through October.
  • The National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) third quarter 2023 Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey showed manufacturers’ optimism is at its lowest level (65.1 percent) in more than three years. Manufacturers said they continue to confront a tight labor market and unbalanced federal regulations. Read the full report here.
  • The National Federation of Independent Business’ Small Business Optimism Index decreased 0.6 of a point in August to 91.3. It was the 20th consecutive month that the survey had been below its 49-year average of 98. Twenty-three percent of small business owners reported inflation was their single most important business problem. That number was up two points from last month.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Labor, during the week that ended September 9, 220,000 individuals received federal unemployment benefits for the first time, an increase of 3,000 from the previous week. The four-week moving average of first-time claims fell slightly, however. During the week that ended September 2, 1.688 million people continued to receive benefits, a number that was up 4,000 from the week before. The four-week moving average of continuing clams fell.
  • In other economic news: Real average hourly earnings for all U.S. employees fell 0.5 percent from July 2023 to August 2023 and increased by only 0.5 percent from August 2022 to August 2023; the U.S. producer price index increased 0.7 percent from July to August and 1.6 percent year-over-year; and the U.S. consumer price index increased 0.6 percent from July to August and 3.7 percent year-over-year.

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