Consumer confidence in the U.S. dipped slightly in April to 120.3 from a 16-year-high of 124.9 in March, however, Americans are still more confident than they were before the 2016 election. Initial indications for the spring do suggest a stronger second quarter.
According to the Commerce Department, the GDP report shows the U.S. economy is off to a slow start in 2017. The economy barely grew, expanding at an annual rate of only 0.7% in the first quarter. The growth was a sharp decline from the 2.1% annual rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2016 and was the weakest quarterly showing in three years. Consumption rose by on 0.3%, well below the 3.5% rate in the previous quarter.
The Architectural Billings Index for March registered at 54.3, up from a score of 50.7 in the previous month. This score reflects an increase in design services as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.
The April Purchasing Managers Index registered at 54.8%, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from the March reading of 57.2%. The New Orders Index registered at 57.5%, down 7 percentage points from the previous month. The Production Index was at 58.6%, 1 percentage point higher than the previous month.
Raw steel production in the U.S. totaled an estimated 1,737,000 net tons for the week ending May 6, down 0.7% from 1,750,000 tons the previous week. Mills operated at an average capacity utilization rate of 74.5%.
The U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation to determine whether a flood of aluminum imports from China and elsewhere was compromising U.S. national security, a step that could lead to broad import restrictions on the metal. To read this full story and more, view the May 2017 ONI Insight Guide below.
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