The U.S. added 313,000 jobs in February, much stronger than economists anticipated and was the largest gain since July 2016. The unemployment rate stayed at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years.
Consumer sentiment inched down at the end of February, but still exceeded expectations after shooting up mid-month. The University of Michigan’s report on consumer attitudes about the economy slipped to 99.7 in February; the index reached 99.9 in the prior February reading, the second-highest level since 2004.
The January Architecture Billings Index score was 54.7, up from a score of 52.8 in December. The score reflects an increase in design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The February Purchasing Managers Index registered 60.8%, an increase of 1.7 percentage points from the January reading of 59.1%. The New Orders Index registered at 64.2%, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the previous month. The Production Index was at 62%, down 2.5 percentage points compared to January.
President Donald Trump pressed ahead with the imposition of 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% for aluminum on March 1, but exempted Canada and Mexico, backtracking from earlier pledges on tariffs on all countries. Trump told a news conference that the best outcome would be for companies to move here and insisted that domestic production was needed for national security reasons.
Details of the plan came from a briefing by administration officials ahead of Trump’s speech. Other countries can apply for exemptions, although details of when they would be granted are thin.
For more information, contact your local sales representative or view the March 2018 ONI Insight Guide below.ONI Insight March 2018