Regional Surveys Paint Mixed Picture For Future Economic Growth

Date: December 20, 2016

While US Factory Activity Has Sharply Increased, Employment Numbers Remain Less Positive

The Financial Times reported that newly-released regional Federal Reserve surveys have indicated a sharp increase in US manufacturing activity and highlighted stabilization in the industry. Fox Business reported that the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s gauge of manufacturing activity in the Mid-Atlantic region “jumped to 21.5 in December from a reading of 7.6 the month prior.” The article said that Wall Street expected a reading of 9. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York said that its Empire State index also showed a sharp increase, rising from 1.5 in November to a reading of 9 in December, the AP reported.

Despite the sharp increase in manufacturing activity among US regions, regional employment numbers have been more mixed. Minnesota added 5,000 jobs in November, 3,400 of which were in construction, Finance And Commerce said. In addition, the Arizona Republic reported that while Arizona employers “had their weakest November for job gains in eight years,” the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 5 percent and manufacturing jobs increased by 700 jobs. The AP reported that Illinois officials reported that “the state’s unemployment rate in November remained at 5.6 percent,” while nonfarm payrolls “increased by 1,700 jobs last month,” based on “preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and IDES.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

Small business owners are looking to see signs of broad US economic growth. The latest data indicate that while the manufacturing sector may be improving, hiring is still lagging. This suggests a mixed economic picture headed into the new year.

Additional Reading

MarketWatch also covered the New York and Philadelphia manufacturing surveys.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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