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The ISM (Institute for Supply Management) Manufacturing Index for December rose to a 2-year high of 54.7, up 1.5 points from December and beating most economists’ expectations. New orders were the standout of the composite index, rising 7.2 points to 60.2, followed by production, which was up 4.3 points to 60.3. Employment was also up 0.8 points to 53.1, and new export orders were up 4.0 points to 56.0, reaching a 2.5 year high. Survey respondents indicated increases in demand and projections for growth, with concerns about a tight labor market and increasing raw material prices.
The FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting on Dec. 12-13, 2016, approved raising the federal fund rate by .25% to a range of .50% – .75%, and projected that future increases would be gradual, but did not commit to a timetable. The FOMC statement noted that near-term risks appeared balanced, and that future adjustments to the federal fund rate will be based on carefully monitored economic indicators.
The December jobs report showed 156,000 jobs created, which was fewer than the expected 175,000, and an increase in the unemployment rate to 4.7%. However, hourly wages were up by .4%, and the workforce participation rate increased to 62.7%. Overall, the report indicated a tightening of the labor market and leant support to speculation that the FOMC could increase interest rates on a more frequent basis in 2017.
Friday January 13 — PPI-FD (Producer Price Index – Final Demand)
Friday January 13 — Retail Sales