“After six consecutive monthly gains, the U.S. Leading Economic Indicators index (LEI) is at its highest level in over a decade. Widespread gains across a majority of the leading indicators points to an improving economic outlook for 2017, although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “Only housing permits contributed negatively to the LEI in February, reversing gains over the previous two months.” – The Conference Board
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Household Survey Data
The number of unemployed persons, at 7.5 million, changed little in February. The unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, was little changed over the month but was down from 4.9 percent a year earlier.
Source: National Retail Federation
Imports at the nation’s major retail container ports should see double-digit year-over-year increases for the next two months as a growing economy increases the demand for affordable merchandise, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
Source: Institute for Supply Management
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February, and the overall economy grew for the 93rd consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Sales The combined value of distributive trade sales and manufacturers’ shipments for December, adjusted for seasonal and trading-day differences but not for price changes, was estimated at $1,356.0 billion, up 2.0 percent (±0.2 percent) from November 2016 and was up 5.2 percent (±0.4 percent) from December 2015.
Source: American Trucking Associations
American Trucking Associations’ advanced seasonally adjusted (SA) For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index rose 2.9% in January, following a 4.3% decrease during December. (December’s index was revised up from our press release on January 24, 2017.) In January, the index equaled 138.8 (2000=100), up from 134.9 in December. The all-time high was 142.7 in February 2016.
Source: Cass Information Systems
Both the Shipments and the Expenditures Indexes have now turned positive. Throughout the U.S. economy, there is a growing number of data points that suggest that the worst is over and the economy is getting better. Some data points are simply less bad, but an increasing number of them are better, and even a few are becoming outright strong.
Last month, the British International Freight Association (BIFA) 28th annual Freight Service Awards were held. During the ceremony, the UK team for MIQ Logistics received an award in the Extra Mile category.
Source: Logistics Management
While United States-bound retail container volumes trended down in December, the over all outlook for 2017 volumes appears to be solid, according to the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report issued by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates.
“The U.S. Leading Economic Index increased in December, suggesting the economy will continue growing at a moderate pace, perhaps even accelerating slightly in the early months of this year,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Director of Business Cycles and Growth Research at The Conference Board. “December’s large gain was mainly driven by improving sentiment about the outlook and suggests the business cycle still showed strong momentum in the final months of 2016.” – The Conference Board