More Gains for U.S. Manufacturing
From this morning's report on manufacturing activity in the Richmond Fed district (Virginia, most of W. Virginia, North and South Carolina and Maryland):
"In January, the seasonally adjusted composite index of manufacturing activity—our broadest measure of manufacturing—increased nine points to 12 from December’s reading of 3. Among the index’s components, shipments gained fourteen points to 17 and new orders doubled, picking up seven points to finish at 14. The jobs index picked up eight points to 4.
In our January survey, our contacts were more bullish about their business prospects for the next six months. The index of expected shipments increased nine points to 36, expected orders gained eleven points to finish at 32, and backlogs added eight points to 14. The capacity utilization and vendor delivery times indexes each rose nine points to finish at 11 and 20, respectively. Moreover, readings for planned capital expenditures moved up eight points to finish at 15. District manufacturers’ hiring plans in January were somewhat more optimistic as well. The expected manufacturing employment index edged up three points to 20, while the average workweek indicator held steady at 7. The index of expected wages was virtually unchanged at 19."
This follows a strong report last week from the Fed on both current and future manufacturing activity in New York state, and is consistent with today's ATA Truck Tonnage Index for December, which registered the largest annual gain in 13 years, largely due to solid manufacturing output.