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Manufacturers have announced a series of investments so far in 2018, including the construction of new facilities, or upgrades and expansions to existing ones. In the last week alone, Ford Motor Company announced a $25 million investment in its Kentucky facility to meet rising demand, and International Paper detailed plans to spend half a billion dollars to upgrade its facility in Alabama.

U.S. aerospace and defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin is the latest manufacturer to make exciting moves in 2018.

The company announced on Wednesday that it has begun construction of a new $50 million, 255,000 square foot facility that will create 500 well-paying jobs within the next two years:

Defense giant Lockheed Martin broke ground Wednesday on a 255,000-square-foot Orlando facility that will create space for up to 1,000 workers.

The company plans to hire about 1,800 nationwide during the next two years. About 500 of those new jobs will be created here, with those positions paying an average salary of $87,000.

Engineers at the facility will work on defense-related and other technological projects:

The new research and development facility, set to open in 2019 and sitting just south of the intersection of Sand Lake and Kirkman roads, will host work that could make its way into the U.S. military’s next nuclear missile.

Programs housed at the new $50 million building will also support research and development in several industries with new technology, including autonomous cars, artificial intelligence and human-machine interaction.

“We just need more space to handle all the growth we’re experiencing,” said Frank St. John, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Missiles and Fire Control.

Manufacturers ended 2017 with record-high optimism and a surge of encouraging news about the industry. So far in 2018, manufacturers have continued to expand their facilities, create new jobs, and invest in their workforce.

The post Lockheed Martin Announces Construction Of New $50 Million Facility In Florida appeared first on Shopfloor.

Manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district eased somewhat in February but remained strong overall. In the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey, the composite index of general business conditions declined from 17.7 in January to 13.1 in February. While this was the fourth straight deceleration in the headline index, off from the three-year high of 28.8 in October, the pace of expansion has remained decent overall, averaging 26.9 over the past 14 months. In February, the underlying data were mixed. New orders (up from 11.9 to 13.5), employment (up from 3.8 to 10.9) and the average workweek (up from 0.8 to 4.6) each picked up in the latest data, but shipments (down from 14.4 to 12.5) and inventories (down from 13.8 to 4.9) slowed a little..

As we have seen in recent months, pricing pressures continued to increase. The prices paid index rose from 36.2 to 48.6, its highest level since March 2012. Indeed, more than half of those completing the survey said that their input costs were higher in February, 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 55.1 to 55.6, 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 rose from 48.6 to 50.5, its best reading since January 2011. Shipments (up from 46.3 to 46.7) and the average workweek (up from 16.7 to 20.8) both accelerated in January’s forward-looking indices, but other measures pulled back slightly, even while continuing to reflect very promising growth for the coming months. Those included new orders (down from 47.6 to 47.2), employment (down from 26.9 to 19.5), capital expenditures (down from 34.8 to 31.9) and technology spending (down from 27.5 to 23.6).

The post New York Fed: Manufacturing Activity Remained Strong but Eased in February; Input Costs Accelerated appeared first on Shopfloor.

The Federal Reserve said that manufacturing production was unchanged in January for the second straight month. As such, output in the sector essentially has taken a pause at the beginning of 2018, but we would anticipate that breather to be short-lived. Indeed, we would expect manufacturing production to rise by 2.1 percent in 2018, up from 1.7 percent in 2017. In terms of the latest data, manufacturing production rose by 1.8 percent since January 2017, slowing from the more robust 2.3 percent pace seen in November, which likely represented a rebound in the aftermath of several hurricanes. Much like the headline number, manufacturing capacity utilization was flat in January’s report, unchanged at 76.2 percent.

In January, durable goods manufacturing production rose by 0.2 percent, with flat growth in nondurable goods output. The underlying sector-by-sector data were—not surprisingly—mixed. The largest monthly increases in the sector were in the computer and electronic equipment (up 1.3 percent), electrical equipment and appliances (up 1.0 percent), petroleum and coal products (up 0.9 percent), machinery (up 0.6 percent), motor vehicles and parts (up 0.6 percent), textile and product mills (up 0.6 percent) and chemicals (up 0.4 percent), among others. In contrast, production was lower in several sectors, including nonmetallic mineral products (down 2.1 percent), wood products (down 1.4 percent), miscellaneous durable goods (down 1.2 percent), printing and support (down 1.0 percent) and plastics and rubber products (down 0.5 percent).

Meanwhile, total industrial production edged down by 0.1 percent in January, falling for the first month since August. The decline stemmed from a pullback in mining production, off by 1.0 percent, with utilities output up 0.6 percent. Utilities benefited in the past two months from colder temperatures. Over the past 12 months, industrial production has risen 3.7 percent, more than double the year-over-year pace seen just four months ago. Mining and utilities output increased 8.8 percent and 10.8 percent year-over-year, respectively. In addition, capacity utilization dropped from 77.7 percent in December, its strongest rate since February 2015, to 77.5 percent in January.

The post Manufacturing Production Began 2018 Unchanged, but Still Reflects Progress, up 1.8% Year-Over-Year appeared first on Shopfloor.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity accelerated once again in February, continuing to expand at healthy rates in the first two months of 2018. The composite index of general business activity rose from 22.2 in January to 25.8 in February. To illustrate just how much this measure has reflected strong growth of late, the composite index averaged a rather robust 26.5 over the past 15 months. (It averaged just 1.1 in the 15 months prior to that.) In February, the data were mixed. New orders (up from 10.1 to 24.5) and hiring (up from 16.8 to 25.2) both improved, but shipments (down from 30.3 to 15.5) and the average workweek (down from 16.7 to 13.7) slowed, even as all of these indices indicated solid gains in February.

If there are any concerns in the data, it is in the pricing figures. The index for prices paid increased from 32.9 to 45.0, its highest level since May 2011. Moreover, two-thirds of manufacturing firms predicts higher input costs over the next six months, with that index rising from 54.2 to 65.2, a pace not seen in seven years. This mirrors an acceleration in other pricing data. In addition, respondents to this survey said that they see wages and benefits rising by 3.0 percent over the next year in a series of special questions, with consumer prices up 2.5 percent.

Meanwhile, manufacturers in the Philadelphia Fed district continued to be very upbeat in their outlook. The forward-looking composite index was drifted slightly lower, down from 42.2 to 41.2, but growth expectations remained vigorous overall. More than 60 percent of those completing the survey see new orders and shipments rising in the next six months, and at least 44 percent anticipate additional hiring and capital spending.

The post Philly Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded Solidly in February, with Prices Accelerating Strongly appeared first on Shopfloor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that producer prices for final demand goods and services rose 0.4 percent in January, bouncing back after being unchanged in December. For manufacturers, producer prices for final demand goods jumped 0.7 percent in January, its fastest pace in two months. This was led by sharply higher energy costs, which were up 3.4 percent in January. This was largely consistent with recent observations in the spot price for West Texas intermediate (WTI) crude oil, which increased from an average of $57.88 in December to $63.70 in January, its highest monthly average since November 2014.

Meanwhile, food prices drifted lower for the second straight month, down 0.2 percent in January. On a year-over-year basis, final demand food and energy costs have risen 1.7 percent and 9.6 percent, respectively. Excluding food and energy, producer prices for final demand goods were up by 0.2 percent in this report, increasing for the sixth consecutive month.

Overall, producer prices for final demand goods and services have increased 2.6 percent since January 2017, decelerating for the second straight month from a 3.1 percent year-over-year pace in November. Nonetheless, prices have generally trended higher over the past year, up from 1.8 percent year-over-year in January 2017. Nonetheless, core producer prices—which exclude food, energy and trade services—continue to be modest at 2.4 percent, up from 2.2 percent in December but matching the rate seen in November. For comparison purposes, core producer prices were 1.7 percent year-over-year at this point last year.

The post Producer Prices for Final Demand Goods Jumped 0.7% in January on Higher Energy Costs appeared first on Shopfloor.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Wells Fargo reported that the Housing Market Index (HMI) was unchanged at 72 in February. The headline measure remained not far from December’s reading, which was the best since July 1999. More importantly, homebuilders are very optimistic about the next six months, with the index for expected sales of single-family homes rising from 78 to 80, its best reading since June 2005. NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz added, “With ongoing job creation, increasing owner-occupied household formation, and a tight supply of existing home inventory, the single-family housing sector should continue to strengthen at a gradual but consistent pace.” The release cited the “pro-business political climate” for the recent uptick in sentiment, but also cautions about supply constraints, including “shortages of labor and building material price increases.”

To put the current numbers in perspective, the HMI stood at 58 and 65 in February 2016 and February 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 18 straight months. In February, sentiment strengthened in the Midwest but was somewhat softer (but still quite positive) in the Northeast and West.

The post NAHB: Single-family home sales expectations at highest level since June 2005 appeared first on Shopfloor.