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The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that producer prices for final demand goods and services rose 0.2 percent in February, easing somewhat from the 0.4 percent gain seen in January. For manufacturers, producer prices for final demand goods edged down 0.1 percent in February, pulling back from the 0.7 percent increase in January. Energy costs helped to boost January’s jump in input costs, which energy prices up 3.4 percent in that release; in the latest figures, energy was off by 0.5 percent. Food prices were also down by 0.4 percent, drifting lower for the third straight month. On a year-over-year basis, final demand food and energy costs have risen 0.6 percent and 9.3 percent, respectively. Excluding food and energy, producer prices for final demand goods were up by 0.2 percent in this report, increasing for the seventh consecutive month.  

Overall, producer prices for final demand goods and services have increased 2.9 percent since February 2017. This was up from 2.6 percent year-over-year in January but down from the 3.1 percent pace observed in November. In general, raw material costs have accelerated over the past year, with the year-over-year pace being 2.0 percent in February 2017. Recent sentiment surveys have tended to echo this finding, with input prices at multiyear highs in many such reports.

Similarly, core producer prices—which exclude food, energy and trade services—have increased 2.7 percent over the past 12 months, up from 2.4 percent in January. For comparison purposes, core producer prices were 1.8 percent year-over-year at this point last year.

The post Producer Prices for Final Demand Goods Slowed in February, but up 2.9% over the Past 12 Months appeared first on Shopfloor.

Manufacturers continue to hum along in 2018, with companies announcing a series of investments to expand their businesses and meet rising demand. These investments also mean more jobs for American workers. Last week, Hershey broke ground on a new $60 million expansion expected to create 110 new manufacturing jobs; Martin Technologies is creating 250 new jobs in Tennessee.

Indiana-based plastics manufacturer Berry Global is following suit, announcing plans this week to expand its manufacturing footprint in Evansville, Indiana with a $70 million investment expected to create 150 new jobs:

Berry Global on Tuesday announced plans to expand its manufacturing operations in Evansville by investing $70 million dollars in new equipment and creating up to 150 new jobs by 2020…

“Global manufacturing companies like Berry Global continue to build products in Indiana that power the world,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said in a news release. “With ongoing growth and job creation in Indiana, it’s clear Berry has found a winning solution in our state, taking advantage of our low-cost business environment and skilled workforce.

The expansion will include four new thermoforming lines to produce plastic packaging. According to the company, the new openings will include both entry-level manufacturing and skilled trade positions.

Berry Global employs 23,000 workers at 130 locations across U.S.

The post Plastics Manufacturer Berry Global Plans $70 Million Expansion In Indiana, Creating 150 New Jobs appeared first on Shopfloor.

Manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district continued to show solid gains in manufacturing activity in March. In the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the composite index of general business conditions rose from 13.1 in February to 22.5 in March. After decelerating for four straight months from the three-year high of 28.8 in October, it was encouraging to see the headline index rebound once again. Many of the key underlying data points were also higher in March, including faster expansions for new orders (up from 13.5 to 16.8), shipments (up from 12.5 to 27.0), the average workweek (up from 4.6 to 5.9) and inventories (up from 4.9 to 5.6).

Hiring (down from 10.9 to 9.4) slowed somewhat on net, but, interestingly, the percentage of respondents suggesting that employment for their firms had increased for the month improved, up from 18.9 percent in February to 25.8 percent in March. The easing in the index stemmed from a pickup in those suggesting that hiring was lower, up from 8.0 percent to 16.4 percent.

As we have seen in recent months, pricing pressures continued to increase. The prices paid index rose from 48.6 to 50.3, its highest level since March 2012. Indeed, more than half of those completing the survey said that their input costs were higher in March, with just 2.8 percent saying that they were lower. The forward-looking inflationary measure suggested that this trend should continue, with the expected prices paid index inching up from 52.1 to 55.9, its fastest pace since May 2012.

Despite the increased pricing pressure, manufacturers in the New York Fed’s district remained very upbeat about the next six months. The future-oriented composite index declined from 50.5 in February, its best reading since January 2011, to 44.1 in March—a number that still suggests a very robust outlook. The underlying data were mostly lower, but promising overall. This included new orders (down from 47.2 to 43.0), shipments (down from 46.7 to 43.3), employment (up from 19.5 to 23.3), the average workweek (down from 20.8 to 14.7), capital expenditures (down from 31.9 to 29.4) and technology spending (down from 23.6 to 18.9).

The post New York Fed: Continued Solid Gains in Manufacturing Activity in March appeared first on Shopfloor.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity continued to be healthy in its district in March. The composite index of general business activity eased somewhat from 25.8 in February to 22.3 in March, but new orders (up from 24.5 to 35.7) and shipments (up from 15.5 to 32.4) accelerated strongly at their fastest paces in 12 months. More importantly, just over 52 percent of respondents said that new orders had increased in March, with just 16.4 percent noting declines. In addition, the labor market remained tight, with employment (up from 25.2 to 25.6) strengthening slightly and nearly 35 percent of those completing the survey suggesting that hiring had picked up in March. The average workweek (down from 13.7 to 12.8) slowed a bit in this report but was strong overall.

If there are any concerns in the data, it is in the pricing figures, as noted in last month’s survey. The index for prices paid pulled back somewhat from 45.0 in February, its highest level since May 2011, to 42.6 in March but remained highly elevated. Moreover, 64.0 percent of manufacturing firms predict higher input costs over the next six months, with that index easing from 65.2, a pace not seen in seven years, to 62.8. This mirrors an acceleration in other pricing data.

Meanwhile, manufacturers in the Philadelphia Fed district continued to be very upbeat in their outlook. The forward-looking composite index increased from 41.2 to 47.9, indicating vigorous expectations for growth in the next six months. More than 60 percent of those completing the survey see new orders rising in the months ahead, with 54.7 percent forecasting higher shipments. In terms of investments in the company, 43.2 percent and 45.4 percent anticipate additional hiring and capital spending, respectively, for the next six months.

The post Philly Fed: Manufacturers Continue to Report Healthy Expansion in March appeared first on Shopfloor.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo reported that the Housing Market Index (HMI) eased marginally, down from 71 in February to 70 in March. Yet, the headline measure remained not far from December’s reading (74), which was the best since July 1999. More importantly, homebuilders are very optimistic about the next six months, despite the index for expected sales of single-family homes declining from 80, its best reading since June 2005, to 78. NAHB Chairman Randy Noel noted, “Builders’ optimism continues to be fueled by growing consumer demand for housing and confidence in the market.” NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz added, “A strong labor market, rising incomes and a growing economy are boosting demand for homeownership even as interest rates rise.”

To put the current numbers in perspective, the HMI stood at 58 and 71 in March 2016 and March 2017, respectively. Readings over 50 suggest that more homebuilders are positive than negative in their economic outlook. The HMI has exceeded 50 in every month since July 2014, and it has exceeded 60—which would signify robust growth—for 19 straight months. In the latest data, sentiment strengthened in the Northeast, but was somewhat softer, but still quite positive, in other regions.

The post NAHB: Builder Optimism Remains Solid in March, with a Strong Outlook for Sales over the Next 6 Months appeared first on Shopfloor.

Manufacturers across the country continue to enjoy record-high optimism and are expanding at an exciting clip. This week, both the New York Federal Reserve and the Philadelphia Federal Reserve reported continued healthy gains in manufacturing activity, and with tax reform and other pro-growth policies coming from Washington, manufacturers feel the wind is at their backs.

A major food manufacturer based in Tennessee is the latest manufacturer to move forward with an exciting expansion.

Texas-based rice manufacturer Riviana Foods is partnering with Ebrofrost to build a new $3.1 million warehouse at their facility in Memphis, Tennessee to meet increasing production and demand:

The Riviana Foods rice plant in South Memphis keeps expanding like dry rice in boiling water. But this time the growth involves the frozen rice and pasta products of Riviana’s sister company, Ebrofrost North America.

A new application for a construction permit shows that Riviana plans $3.1 million worth of site work in the complex it shares with Ebrofrost at 2360 Prospect/2314 Lauderdale, which is just southwest of the city’s Links at Pine Hill golf course.

The site work is part of the second phase of a $26.5 million project to build facilities in which Ebrofrost will process, package and distribute frozen rice and pasta.

The Memphis complex is already one of the largest rice manufacturing plants in the world and employs over 300 workers. According to Riviana, the latest expansion will create 19 new jobs which will pay an average of $60,654 a year.

The post Riviana Foods Investing $3.1 Million To Expand Tennessee Facility, Create 19 New Good-Paying Jobs appeared first on Shopfloor.