Economic Data Roundup (11/21/2016)

11/21/16 12:00 PM

iStock_000009946822_Small.jpgThe only economic data worth mentioning this morning is the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s composite manufacturing index, which showed that activity expanded at a softer pace this month in the Midwestern region of the country. Specifically, the headline index fell to 1.0 in November, the first monthly decline since August but still the third positive (expansionary) print in a row. Under the hood, durable goods production continued to grow modestly but measures of shipments, new orders, and order backlogs all deteriorated this month. The employment index also fell in November but still ended at its second highest reading in more than a year. Looking ahead, outlooks for activity six months from now generally cooled but expectations for new orders and capital spending firmed. Comments from surveyed managers in the 10th Fed district were somewhat mixed this month, with several respondents again noting concerns about employment costs:

  • “Business levels are increasing slightly. We hope that customers will make purchasing decisions now that the presidential election has occurred.”
  • “Business continues to be challenging, especially into the winter months. Our major projects have been generally aimed at reducing labor content and headcount. We have been dealing with massive increases in healthcare costs.”
  • “Though the total volume of work for this fiscal year will be down about 10-15%, the last two months have almost doubled last year’s same months. The end of the year is finishing stronger than expected.”
  • “It has been a strong 4th quarter so far. Mild weather has helped … [and] we are looking for a strong holiday season.”
  • “Finding quality applicants is our biggest restraint in hiring new employees. Raised wages to attract employees, but this has lowered our already slim profit margin.”
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Sources: FRBKC

Post author: Charles Couch