April 2015 Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Strategy & Growth

Manufacturing Slumps

Industrial production in the US posted its first quarterly decrease since 2009 falling 1% in Q1 2015. In March, the sector fell 0.6% after increasing just .1% in February.  Total industrial production in March was 2% above its level a year earlier.

A sharp drop in oil and gas well drilling and servicing is largely responsible for the poor quarterly performance. Oil and gas well drilling is down 60% from a year ago and fell 17.5% in March.

In March, manufacturing output moved up 0.1% for its first monthly gain since November; however, factory output in January is now estimated to have fallen 0.6%, about twice as much as the previously reported decline.

The production of durable goods moved up 0.2%, on the strength of a rebound in the production of motor vehicles and parts. Automotive products were up 3% in March and are up 5.3% from a year ago.  Other consumer durable goods including home electronics and furniture fell 0.7% in March, but are registering 5.3% over 2014.

The output of primary metals fell 3.2% to register the largest loss among durable goods industries. The production of nondurable goods also increased slightly up 0.1%. The indexes for paper fell 0.6%; with chemicals falling 0.5% and plastics and rubber down 0.3% in March.

2014 Final GDP Report

Real GDP increased 2.4% in 2014 compared with an increase of 2.2% in 2013 according to the US Department of Commerce. Economists are predicting the severe winter will make for a weak first quarter 2015 GDP; however, stronger growth is expected for the rest of the year as a recovering job market supports healthy gains in consumer spending.

Growth in the US slowed in the fourth quarter rising just 2.2% following a spike of 5% in the third quarter, according to the US Commerce Department. The increase in GDP in the fourth quarter was attributed to consumer spending, which rose 4.2%, compared with 3.2% in the third quarter. Spending on both goods and services increased in the fourth quarter.

Additional contributions were made by an increase in business investment, with a spike in intellectual property products. Exports of goods and services increased with food and beverage being the largest contributor. State and local government spending also increased, while federal government spending on defense decreased.

Questions or comments? Please contact Melanie Garza at mgarza@teamCOACT.com.