March Global Manufacturing Update Reveals Modest Growth Overall
Despite modest growth overall, the global economic environment remains challenged, with manufacturers in half of the top 10 markets for goods manufactured in the U.S. reporting declining levels of activity in March. For example, the Chinese economy continued to decelerate and Canadian manufacturers reported weaker conditions in the past two months due to energy markets. In contrast, the U.S. economy remains a bright spot despite headwinds that dampened activity in the early months of the year. To learn more, visit here.
Final Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Underway
After several years of negotiations between the United States and eleven Asia-Pacific nations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is nearing a make-or-break point. The TPP will be a game-changer for manufacturers in the United States by joining together nearly 800 million consumers and almost 40 percent of the world economy in a stronger trade relationship. The goal of the TPP is to help grow U.S. manufacturing, support our manufacturing exports, protect our intellectual property and ultimately, improve our global competitiveness. To learn more, visit here.
Consumer Prices Increase for Second Straight Month Thanks to Higher Gas Prices
The Consumer Price Index increased for the second straight month in March, up 0.2 percent, said the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Consumer Price Index growth is largely attributed to higher gasoline prices, which increased 2.4 percent in February and 3.9 percent in March. Apparel, medical care, new vehicles, shelter expenses and transportation services all saw notable price increases in March, while food prices declined 0.2 percent. On a year-over-year basis, core inflation has increased 1.8 percent, which is less than the Federal Reserve's stated goal of less than 2 percent. To learn more, visit here.
New Housing Starts Still Weak in March
Residential construction activity remained weak for the second straight month, according to the Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Despite the fact that new housing starts increased 2.0 percent last month (up from 908,000 in February to 926,000 in March), the numbers are still below the 1,072,000 rate observed in January. Most notably, the Midwest, Northeast and West reflected reduced activity, with poor weather conditions being a critical factor in some of those regions. Overall, single-family permits were higher, while multi-family permits were lower. To learn more, visit here.