January 2018 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

The U.S. added 2 million jobs in 2017, with 148,000 jobs added in December. The December report was below what economists expected. However, it was still the 87th consecutive month of gains – the longest streak on record.

The U.S. trade deficit increased more than expected in November as imports of goods surged to a record high amid strong domestic demand, making it likely that trade will subtract from economic growth in the fourth quarter.

Even with the uncertainty related to pending tax reform legislation, design services at architecture firms remain high in demand. The Architecture Billings Index for November was 55.0, up from a score of 51.7 the previous month. Any score above 50 reflects an increase in billings.

The December Purchasing Managers Index registered 59.7%, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the November reading of 58.2%. The New Orders Index registered 69.4%, an increase of 5.4 percentage points from the November reading. The Production Index registered 65.8%, a 1.9 percentage point increase compared to the November reading of 63.9%.

U.S. steel imports fell more than 10% month-over-month and year-over-year in December, marking a second month of significant declines. Steel imports in December stood at 2.19 million tons, down 11.4% from 2.47 million tons in November and off 10.7% from 2.45 million tons in December 2016.

Aluminum industry leaders testified last month before the U.S. International Trade Commission in support of a determination that imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China injure or threaten to injure U.S. producers.

In November, the Department of Commerce self-initiated antidumping and countervailing duty investigations on imports of common alloy aluminum sheet from China. The goal is to determine whether the imports are being sold in the U.S. at unfairly low prices and whether Chinese producers receive actionable subsidies from the Chinese government on these products.

The ITC is tentatively scheduled to vote on January 12 on whether there is a reasonable indication that domestic producers of common alloy sheet are materially injured or threatened.

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

ONI Insight January 2018