U.S. PMI and Unemployment Numbers Strong – Business Confidence and New Orders for Durable Goods Decline

S&P Global announced that the U.S. Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing and primary services sectors rose to 58.5 in March from 55.9 in February.

The PMI remains above 50, indicating that the U.S. economy continues to expand. This was driven by the removal of bottlenecks in the supply chain and a rebound in demand as new orders and employment increased again.

Business confidence declined in March. It was affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which led to an increase in the cost of goods.

The preliminary manufacturing PMI reached 58.5, the highest level in six months, up from 57.3 in February.

The preliminary services PMI was 58.9, an eight-month high, up from 56.5 in February.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that initial jobless claims fell by 28,000 last week to 187,000. This is the lowest level since September 1969.

The number of people applying for unemployment benefits is well below 215,000, the weekly average before the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

The number of Americans continuing to file for unemployment benefits fell by 67,000 to 1.35 million, the lowest level since January 1970.

In addition, the U.S. Commerce Department announced that U.S. new orders for durable goods, such as aircraft, automobiles, and heavy machinery used for three years or more, fell 2.2% in February after rising 1.6% in January.

New orders for durable goods, i.e. orders for capital goods excluding aircraft and weapons, are an indicator of planned business spending and fell 0.3% in February after rising 0.9% in January.

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