In May, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to a remarkably low 4.3%, the lowest level since May of 2001. In the past, few would have doubted that this was either at or close to full employment, the level below which wage and inflation pressures begin to create growth-killing instabilities.
May saw the first increase in the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) since February. Even accounting for the modest PMI dip in March and April, the progression of the index, since the recent low of August 2016, has been impressive. It suggests sustainability of moderate improvement in factory sector growth.
h the 6,000 new factory-sector jobs in April, manufacturing employment has now increased for five consecutive months, with an average of 14,200 new jobs gained per month. This is an impressive turnaround from a particularly weak period. Overall, this is the most convincing evidence that the broad manufacturing picture is starting to show some real improvement from years of weakness.
Stating “near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced,” the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) elected to keep the target range for its influential federal funds rate between 0.75% and 1%, after a 25 basis point hike at the March meeting.
This morning’s release of the April manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) adds to rapidly accumulating evidence that U.S. manufacturing is accelerating modestly from the 1% growth rut that it has been stuck in since 2012.
In his campaign, then candidate Trump threatened to “cancel” the Paris Agreement, in which the United States formally committed to reducing GHG emissions 26-28% by 2025. It seems the new administration is ready to make good on its word.
On February 24, 2017, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a significant decision interpreting the anti-retaliation provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The March 2017 Manufacturing ISM® Report on Business®indicates another solid month for a manufacturing uptick. The ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 57.2%, a 0.5 percentage point reduction from February 2017. The March data add to mounting evidence that U.S. manufacturing output performance is on track for moderate improvement up from the stagnant average growth rate of less than 1% that has plagued the factory sector since 2013.