A new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia showed that manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country accelerated this month, as the general business conditions index jumped from +22.0 to +38.8. That was the first monthly increase since February, significantly better than economists had anticipated, and the 2nd-highest reading of the current business cycle.
Under the hood, current measures of shipments and hours worked improved but new orders, inventories, and total employment all expanded at a slower rate. Forward-looking indicators (six months ahead) generally softened in May but overall these gauges of future activity remained near historically high levels that hint at very strong business investment growth in Q2. Managers in the this month’s survey were also asked a few special questions about their inflation expectations for the year ahead. The median forecast for changes in the prices of their own products and for U.S. consumers over the next twelve months was 2.0 percent, and surveyed firms expect their employee compensation costs (wages plus benefits on a per employee basis) to rise at a pace of 3.0 percent over the next four quarters.
Sources: Econoday, Twitter, ZH, FRBP, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch