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Electrical Marketing's Leading Economic Indicators

May 17, 2019
Several of the indicators that EM's editors track showed some slippage over the past few weeks.

PMI slips 2.5 points in April. The Institute for Supply Management’s April Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) registered 52.8%, a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the March reading of 55.3%. The report, published monthly by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, explores the industrial purchasing environment. Any reading over 50 points indicates a bullish trend.

Conference Board’s Leading Indicators show slight increase in March. The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S. increased 0.4% in March to 111.9 (2016 = 100), following a 0.1% increase in February, and no change in January. “The US LEI picked up in March with labor markets, consumers’ outlook, and financial conditions making the largest contributions,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, director of economic research at The Conference Board. “Despite the relatively large gain in March, the trend in the US LEI continues to moderate, suggesting that growth in the US economy is likely to decelerate toward its long-term potential of about 2% by year-end.”

U.S. rig activity slips in April. The Baker-Hughes U.S. rig count for April 2019 was 1,012, down 11 from the 1,023 counted in March 2019, and up one from the 1,011 counted in April 2018. Of the individual basins,  the Cana Woodford basin in Oklahoma and northern Texas saw the largest year-over-year drop with a decrease of 23 rigs.

ABI March data shows first slip in two years. Following consistently increasing demand for design services for over two years, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dipped into negative territory in March, according to the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, DC.  The ABI score for March was 47.8, down from 50.3 in February. “Though billings haven’t contracted in a while, it is important to note that it does follow on the heels of a particularly tough late winter period for much of the country,” said AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker. “Many indicators of future work at firms still remain positive, although the pace of growth of design contracts has slowed in recent months.”