December 2016 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. economy added 178,000 jobs in November, as the unemployment rate fell to 4.6% from 4.9%. This report showed a job market that is continuing to steadily strengthen from the recession.

The Wall Street Journal Dollar Index, which measures U.S. currency against 16 others, was recently up 0.6% at 91.88 as the dollar was at an eight-month high against the Japanese yen and gained against the euro. American’s incomes and household spending also advanced for the second straight month in October.

The U.S. economy expanded more than previously reported last quarter; gross domestic product rose at a 3.2% annualized rate in the three months ended in September, compared with an initial estimate of 2.9%.

President-Elect Donald Trump will nominate steel industry veteran Wilber Ross to be Commerce secretary, according to media reports. Ross, who founded private equity firm WL Ross & Co. LLC, has been involved in the restructuring of more than $200 billion of defaulted companies’ assets around the world. He also formed the International Steel Group Inc. (ISG) in 2002 by consolidating former steel behemoths LTV Steel Corp. and Bethlehem Steel Corp. as well as Weirton Steel Corp., Acme Steel Inc., and Georgetown Steel Corp. in addition to plate operations of U.S. Steel Corp.

ISG was purchased in 2004 for more than $4 billion by what is now the world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal SA.

U.S. raw steel output totaled an estimated 1,635,000 net tons for the week ending Dec. 3, up 2.3% from 1,598,000 tons the previous week. Mills operated at an average capacity utilization rate of 68.9%.

The October Architectural Billings Index was 50.8, up from the mark of 48.4 in September. This score reflects an increase in design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The Purchasing Managers Index registered 53.2% in November, an increase of 1.3 percentage points from the October reading of 51.9%. The New Orders Index registered 53%, up 0.9 percentage points from the previous month, and the Production Index registered 56%, up 1.4 percentage points from October.

For more information, contact your local sales representative and view the December “ONI Insight Guide” below.