Economic Indicators Metal Buyers Shouldn't Have Missed Last Week

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Here are some notable happenings from last week you shouldn’t have missed, as you plan your week and month ahead.

If you did, well, you’re welcome.

1. Unemployment Rate — Basically the Same

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. However, employment increased in construction and manufacturing sectors, among others.

2. ISM’s PMI for January is Up — And Expanding

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December, following one month of contraction, and the overall economy grew for the 43rd consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.

The ISM PMI registered 50.7 percent, an increase of 1.2 percentage points from November’s reading of 49.5 percent, indicating expansion in manufacturing for only the third time in the last seven months. This month’s PMI reading moved manufacturing off its low point for 2012 in November. New orders were growing, while inventories are contracting, according to the report.

3. New Orders, Shipments and Unfilled Orders All Rose

The US Census Bureau reported that “new orders for manufactured goods in November, up four of the last five months, increased $0.2 billion to $477.6 billion. This followed a 0.8 percent October increase. Excluding transportation, new orders increased 0.2 percent.

Shipments, up four of the last five months, increased $2.0 billion or 0.4 percent to $483.7 billion. Unfilled orders, up five of the last six months, also increased $1.1 billion or 0.1 percent to $984.5 billion. The unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio was 6.14, down from 6.23 in October.

Inventories, down two consecutive months, decreased slightly to $615.2 billion. This followed a slight October decrease. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.27, down from 1.28 in October.”

What does this mean for you?

Pending disaster, manufacturing in the US looks to be en route to the “slow but steady” approach to growth in early 2013.

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