Regional U.S. Manufacturing Readings Strong In March
The U.S. Department of Commerce announced on March 25 that the nation’s economy expanded at a 4.3% annualized rate in the fourth quarter of 2020 after expanding at a 33.4% rate in the third quarter. The growth rate for the last three months of the year was slightly higher than the 4.1% level, the Commerce Department estimated just a month ago. Read the full report here. In related news, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announced that its National Activity Index, a key gauge of future growth, was -1.09 in February, down from +0.75 in January.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City announced that its manufacturing index for the Midwest region rose to +26 in March from +24 in February. The bank said the growth in district manufacturing activity was driven more by durable goods plants for primary metals, machinery, transportation equipment, furniture, and miscellaneous manufacturing. Month-over-month indexes for shipments, new orders, and order backlog expanded at a faster pace in March and supplier delivery time was very high as well.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said its manufacturing index rose from +14 in February to +17 in March due to a sharp increase in the shipments index and steady levels for new orders and employment. Manufacturers also noted that finding workers with the necessary skills remained difficult and expected these trends to continue in the next six months.
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