Indicators Suggest Continued Growth The survey’s broadest measure of manufacturing conditions, the diffusion index of current activity, edged up slightly from a revised reading of 6.8 in December to 7.3 in January.* The demand for manufactured goods showed continued growth this month: The new orders index remained positive for the fourth consecutive month but declined from a revised reading of 10.7 in December to 6.9 this month. The shipments index also remained positive but fell 3 points. The indexes for both delivery times and unfilled orders recorded slightly negative readings this month.
See that pretty asterisk? There were big revisions to the previous months, making comparisons more than a bit difficult if you simply look at the previous month's numbers. Fortunately, they changed the previous numbers in this release's table.
The only change I find particularly interesting is in the employee workweek, which moved up from 2.8 to 5.0 -- a material change. The other parts of the index were mixed or actually declined -- both new orders and shipments declined although remaining positive, and unfilled orders actually went negative, implying that there is no backlog of materiality.
So yes, last month was ok but the forward indications do not jive -- at all -- with the hopium displayed in the six-month forward expectations.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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