Manufacturing momentum: Growth accelerates in the Southeast
Data released from Kennesaw State University's Econometric Center this week reflected a growing manufacturing sector across the Southeast. Large jumps in the new orders, production, and employment indexes raised the overall index 5.9 points to reach 64.8.
The new orders component added 9.8 index points to reach 70.8, a particularly elevated level, a result of 53.3 percent of respondents indicating that their level of new orders had improved compared with the previous month. The percentage of contacts reporting higher levels of orders has been increasing now for five months.
Production also saw impressive gains. The component gained 11.9 points in February's index to reach 70. On top of the increase in current levels of production noticed in February, nearly two-thirds of contacts reported expected future increases in production levels in the near term.
While the production and new orders indexes saw more impressive gains over the month, the employment component of the index is worth a behind-the-scenes look for February's release. Almost 8 percent more respondents replied that their employment level was higher in February than in January.
The price index measures changes in commodity prices paid by manufacturers. In February, the index had a higher percentage of contacts reporting that commodity prices had elevated since January (up by about 6 percent), while none said commodity prices had fallen month over month, resulting in a 2.7 index point increase in the index, which reached 85 for the month.
By Mark Carter
an analyst in the Atlanta Fed research department
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