December 2017 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. added 228,000 jobs in November. The unemployment rate was 4.1%, unchanged from October, when it was the lowest since 2000. The U.S. has now added jobs for 86 consecutive months.

For the first time since mid-2014, the U.S. economy has sustained 3% growth for two consecutive quarters. The current Conference Board forecast calls for 2.8% growth during the final quarter of 2017 and 2.5% growth in 2018. This would represent the economy’s best 2-year run since 2005.

The Architecture Billings Index was at 51.7 for the month, up from a 49.1 reading the prior month. An index score above 50 indicates an increase in firm billings.

The November Purchasing Managers Index registered 58.2%, a decrease of 0.5 percentage points from the October reading of 58.7%. The New Orders Index registered 64%, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from October. The Production Index registered 63.9%, a 2.9 percentage point increase compared to the prior month.

The fifth round of North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) discussions came to a close on November 22 in Mexico with little headway made in efforts to reform and update the pact. In a statement released November 21, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway. Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result.”

The Trump administration, invoking powers the U.S. hasn’t used in more than a quarter century, began a probe into Chinese aluminum imports that could lead to tariffs. The Commerce Department is taking the unusual step of initiating the case itself, rather than going through the regular route of starting an investigation based on petitions filed by U.S. companies. The investigation covers imports in common alloy sheet, which totaled more than $600 million last year, and was initiated using authority granted by the Tariff Act of 1930.

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

ONI Insight December 2017