NAM: Monday Economic Report
The Institute for Supply Management® reported that manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace since December 1983, with data solidly higher across the board. New orders and production expanded at the best rate since January 2004, and hiring grew at swiftest clip since February 2018.
Yet, manufacturers also note challenges with weather, supply chains and rising costs. Supplier deliveries were the slowest since April 1974, and the backlog of orders was the highest since January 1993. With that in mind, raw material prices continued to rise sharply, near the highest on record since the question was added in January 1993.
Similarly, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank reported that manufacturing activity rose at a pace not seen since August 2018, with input costs up at fastest pace since July 2008.
Private manufacturing construction spending grew 0.3% in February, rising for the second straight month but still down 10.4% year-over-year.
Manufacturing employment increased by 53,000 in March, the fastest monthly pace since September and rising for tenth time in the past eleven months. Durable and nondurable goods employment rose by 30,000 and 23,000 in March, respectively.
The manufacturing sector remains a bright spot in the U.S. economy, with expanding demand, production and hiring moving in the right direction. With that said, manufacturing employment has fallen by 515,000 workers over the past 13 months. Average hourly earnings for production and nonsupervisory workers in manufacturing have risen 3.1% year-over-year.
Overall, the U.S. economy added 916,000 nonfarm payroll workers in March, the strongest monthly gain since August. Despite the solid increase in the latest data, nonfarm payrolls reported 8,403,000 fewer workers today than 13 months ago. The unemployment rate declined from 6.2% in February to 6.0% in March.
According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence moved sharply higher, up from 90.4 in February to 109.7 in March, the best reading in 12 months. Americans were more upbeat in their assessments of current and future economic conditions. More importantly, consumers expressed greater willingness to open their pocketbooks and spend more.