October 2017 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. lost 33,000 jobs in September likely due to the hurricanes; it was the first monthly decline in jobs in seven years. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2%, the lowest since 2001. The Labor Department and economists expect the decline to be short-lived as employers closed by the storms are able to reopen.

Orders for durable goods climbed in August, up 1.7%, and business investment strengthened again in a good showing for the U.S. economy. Consumer confidence, however, declined to 95.1 in a final reading for September. This is lower than economists polled by Reuters expected as August recorded the consumer sentiment index’s highest month since January.

The Architectural Billings Index registered at 53.7 for August, up from a score of 51.9 the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The September Purchasing Managers Index registered 60.8%, an increase of 2 percentage points from the August reading of 58.8%. The New Orders Index registered 64.6%, an increase of 4.3 percentage points from the previous month and the Production Index registered 62.2%, up 1.2 percentage points from August.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Trump administration has decided to defer a decision on steel tariffs as it focuses on getting tax reforms through Congress. “The policy decision has been made to postpone that until the tax bill,” Ross said in an interview on Bloomberg Television.

Shares of major U.S. steelmakers declined after Ross’s remarks. U.S. Steel Corp. dropped the most, falling as much as 6.1% and extending its two-day decline, while Nucor Corp., AK Steel Holding Corp., and Steel Dynamics Inc. also fell. Commerce will give President Donald Trump a range of options when it reports its findings on the steel investigation, said Ross. But, overhauling the tax system is the “single most important” thing on the administration’s agenda, he said.

For more information on the October 2017 ONI Insight Guide, view the publication below or contact your local sales representative.

ONI Insight October 2017