May 2018 ONI Insight: Market Indicators

U.S. jobless rate fell to 3.9% in April, the lowest since 2000. This marks the 91st consecutive month of job gains.

The U.S. economy grew at 2.3% in the first quarter of 2018. The pace is equal to the performance for all of last year, but it is below the stronger 2.9% annualized rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017. It also falls short of President Trump’s goal of at least 3%.

The Architecture Billings Index was at 51.0 for March. This is down 1 point from the previous month, but still reflects a healthy business environment as any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings.

The April Purchasing Managers Index registered at 57.3%, a decrease of 2 percentage points from the March reading of 59.3%. The New Orders Index registered 61.2%, a decrease of 0.7 percentage point from the previous month. The Production Index registered 57.2%, a 3.8 percentage point decrease compared to the March reading of 61%.

President Donald Trump offered a second temporary exemption on metal-import tariffs rather than the permanent waiver most key economic allies are demanding. The U.S. said April 30 it would delay until June 1 import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum for the EU, Mexico and Canada. The White House also said it reached agreements-in-principle with Argentina, Australia and Brazil to remove the levies, which were introduced on national security grounds.

Shipments of U.S. aluminum and Canadian steel products increased in March, while Canadian aluminum and U.S. steel shipments fell slightly during the month. U.S. service centers shipped 3.6 million tons of steel products in March, down 1.7% from the same month last year and up 9.3% from February. Canadian service centers shipped 435,600 tons of steel products during the month, an increase of 3.4% from March 2017 and 12% from February.

For more information, contact your local sales representative or check out the May 2018 ONI Insight Guide below.

ONI Insight May 2018