Good news on the manufacturing front: The American Chemistry Council’s (ACC) recently released Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB)reports that the U.S. economy is slowly expanding. The ACC reported an increase of 0.6% over January on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. The year-over-year 3MMA showed a 2.9% gain over February 2012.
“The increase in chemical industry activity continues to be a good sign for the overall health of the economy,” said Kevin Swift, Ph.D., chief economist at the ACC. “But uncertainty is still present and the impending sequester is likely to stifle growth slightly for the remainder of the year. The bright spots continue to be increasing activity in construction-related coatings, pigments, and plastic resins, all suggesting a continuing recovery in the housing market. Likewise, plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications are growing faster, hinting at stronger consumer confidence.”
Reflecting the findings of the CAB, a recently published survey by the National Association for Business Economists (NABE) found that more than 95% of the forecasters surveyed believe that growth in real GDP in 2013 is likely to be negatively affected by uncertainty surrounding the U.S. fiscal imbalances and issues linked to the continuing resolution, sequestration, and the debt ceiling. Survey participants also reportedly expect that real personal consumption expenditures will continue last year’s 1.9% growth rate in 2013 and then accelerate to 2.5% growth in 2014. Panelists also suggested strong growth in residential investment, housing starts, and home prices.
Do you see the economy headed in a positive direction? Leave a comment below.