February 2018 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in January, an increase from December and the 88th consecutive month of job growth. The unemployment rate was at 4.1%, the same as December and the lowest since 2000.

The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace than projected in the fourth quarter of 2017 on drags from trade and inventories, offsetting strength in consumer spending and business investments that signals momentum entering into 2018. Gross domestic product rose at a 2.6% annualized rate after 3.2% the previous period. Consumer spending rose 3.8%, the best in more than a year.

The Architecture Billings Index registered a score of 52.9 for the month of December, down from a score of 55.0 the previous month. This score still reflects an increase in design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

January’s Purchasing Managers Index reading registered at 59.1%, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 59.3%. The New Orders Index registered at 65.4%, down 2 percentage points from December. The Production Index registered at 64.5%, a 0.7 percentage point decrease compared to the previous month.

U.S. steel imports continued their downward trajectory in December, with volumes down month-over-month and year-over-year, led by a large decline in shipments of oil country goods. Imports came to 2.22 million tons in December, down 11.45% from November and down 9.36% from the previous year.

U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross delivered the long-awaited 232 report on the impact of aluminum imports to President Donald Trump. With the renewed prospect of trade actions, prices may be driven skyward. The president has 90 days to decide on any potential action based on the findings of the investigation.

For more information, view the January 2018 ONI Insight Guide below or contact your local sales representative.

ONI Insight February 2018