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Electrical Marketing's Leading Economic Indicators for September 2018

Sept. 21, 2018
This month's leading economic indicators that measure the health of the electrical market remain on a growth track.

Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) jumps up in August

August’s PMI registered 61.3%, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from the July reading of 58.1%, according to the Tempe, AZ-based Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. The PMI is ISM’s monthly survey of industrial purchasing managers. Any reading over 50% represents a bullish industrial purchasing requirement.

Conference Board’s Leading U.S. Indicators maintain bullish pattern in July

The association’s Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.6 percent in July to 110.7 (2016 = 100), following a 0.5 percent increase in June, and a 0.1 percent increase in May. “The U.S. LEI increased in July, suggesting the US economy will continue expanding at a solid pace for the remainder of this year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth research at The Conference Board. “The strengths among the components of the leading index were very widespread, with unemployment claims, the financial components, and the ISM New Orders Index making the largest positive contributions.”

Building permits drop in August

Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in August were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,229,000, -5.7% below the revised July rate of 1,303,000 and -5.5% below the August 2017 rate of 1,300,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, single-family authorizations in August were at a rate of 820,000, -6.1% below the revised July figure of 873,000.

AIA’s Billings Index bounces back in August

Architecture firm billings rebounded solidly in August, posting their eleventh consecutive month of growth, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA’s Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score for August was 54.2 compared to 50.7 in July (any score over 50 represents billings growth). “Billings at architecture firms in the South continue to lead the healthy increase in design activity that we’ve seen across the profession in recent months,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Nationally, growth across all building sectors remains solidly positive.”