March 2016 Economic Indicators

Melanie Garza - Director of Strategy & Growth

Industrial Sector Inches Up

Economic activity in the industrial sector inched up in February with slight gains in Production and New Orders. The February Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) registered at 49.5%, climbing 1.3% from the January reading of 48.2%.   Readings below 50% indicate the sector is still contracting. PMI has registered under 50% for 5 consecutive months.

The New Orders Index registered 51.5%, the same reading as in January. The Production Index was 52.8% with a rise of 2.6% over January. The Employment Index grew 2.6% over last month to 48.5%.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, nine reported growth in February in the following order: Textile Mills; Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Primary Metals; and Paper Products.


Consumer Confidence Drops Significantly

Consumer Confidence fell more than 5 points in February.  The Index now stands at 92.2%, down from 97.8% in January. The Present Situation Index declined from 116.6% to 112.1%, while the Expectations Index decreased from 85.3% to 78.9% in February.

Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board, said, “Consumers’ short-term outlook grew more pessimistic, with consumers expressing greater apprehension about business conditions, their personal financial situation, and to a lesser degree, labor market prospects. Continued turmoil in the financial markets may be rattling consumers, but their assessment of current conditions suggests the economy will continue to expand at a moderate pace in the near-term.”


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