On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions, said the U.S. economy increased at a somewhat faster rate from early April to late May. However, it still described the pace of economic growth as moderate. The Fed said expanded vaccination rates had the most notable effects in consumer spending, as increased travel and restaurant spending supplemented ongoing strength in other categories.
The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, double April’s disappointing total, but still lower than the estimated 675,000. The unemployment rate decreased to 5.8%, from 6.1% last month.
The May Purchasing Managers Index registered at 61.2%, up 0.5 points from April. This indicates expansion in the overall economy for the 12th consecutive month (a score above 50 indicates expansion). The New Orders Index registered at 67%, up from the April reading of 64.3%. The Production Index registered at 58.5%, down 4 points from the previous month.
The Architectural Billings Index registered at 57.9 for April. This is the highest score since prior to the Great Recession, indicating that a majority of architecture firms saw their billings increase.
Consumer confidence held steady in May with the Consumer Confidence Index registering at 117.2, down marginally from April.
U.S. businesses are calling on President Biden to drop the 25% import duties, arguing that for some products, U.S. businesses are paying 40% more for similar steel compared to European counterparts. Europe is hopeful the Biden administration will relax the 25% tariffs on European steel. However, according to MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns, the tariffs probably aren’t going away anytime soon.
For more information, check out the June 2021 Market Insight Guide below or contact your local sales rep.