Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 54

Despite the softer data in January and February, retail sales
finished March 5.2 percent higher than the year before.
Offsetting concerns about the retail sector and slower
job growth in March is the continuing rebound in the
forward-looking economic indicators. The Conference Board's
Leading Economic Index (LEI) increased sharply again in
February, rising by 0.6 percent. The increase in the LEI was
broad-based as nine of the 10 index components posted gains
for the month. For the month, the only component that was
a negative contributor was residential building permits.

Over the past three months, the PMI has hosted an
average reading of approximately 57. Based on historical
relationships, this would be in line with economic growth
in excess of 4 percent. However, most other economic
data suggests that activity has not been as robust.
Consumer sentiment continues to maintain its
post-election gains. The University of Michigan's Index
of Consumer Sentiment surged from 87.2 in October
to 98.2 in December 2016. This gauge of consumer
expectations has maintained this level through April.

Ataman Ozyildirim, director of business cycles and growth
research at The Conference Board, explained that "after six
consecutive monthly gains, the U.S. LEI is at its highest level in
over a decade. Widespread gains across a majority of the leading
indicators points to an improving economic outlook for 2017,
although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate."

Richard Curtin, chief economist for the Survey Consumers,
noted that "consumer sentiment inched upward in early
April mainly due to more favorable views of current
economic conditions. The Current Economic Conditions
Index rose to its highest level since 2000 and nearly
reached its all-time peak of 121.1 set in 1999."

In the six-month period ending February 2017, the leading
economic index (LEI) increased 2.3 percent-much faster than
the growth of 0.8 percent during the previous six months.

In February, Curtin had noted that the survey's forward-looking
Expectations Component showed a wide gap in sentiment based
on respondent's political identification. However, in April, Curtin
noted that "the data suggest the beginning of a convergence
on the Expectations Index, with the figure for Democrats
rising 7 percent and falling for Republicans by 7 percent."

The manufacturing sector appears to be holding up relatively
well in March. The Institute of Supply Management's monthly
PMI index recorded at 57.2 for the month, a modest 0.5 point
drop from February. Readings above 50 are generally consistent
with an expansion in the manufacturing sector.
Various components of the PMI sent different signals in March.
The important, forward-looking "new orders" component slipped
by a modest 0.6 while the "current production" component
dropped by 5.3 for the month. Consumer inventories were
still seen as too low and the backlog of manufacturers' orders
continue to grow during March. The best-performing component
of the index was "employment" which surged by 4.7 point.
Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the ISM's Manufacturing Business
Survey Committee, said that "consistent with generally positive
comments from the panel, all 18 industries reported growth in
new orders for the month of March."

Financial pundits who have been betting on a "reflation trade"
may have been disappointed as of late. Lower energy prices
pulled down the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in March. The
"headline" CPI slipped by 0.3 percent for the month. However,
over the trailing 12 months, the CPI has risen by 2.4 percent.
The energy component of the CPI dropped by 3.2 percent in
March, surpassing the 1.0 percent decrease in February. Used
vehicles and apparel also saw significant price decreases.
While food prices edged up by 0.3 percent in March, the core
CPI-which excludes food and energy-dropped by 0.1 percent.
Over the past year, core CPI has risen by 2.0 percent.
Further up the pipeline, lower energy cost pulled down the
Producer Price Index (PPI) by 0.1 percent. However, the PPI for
final demand remains up 2.3 percent over the last 12 months.

www.americanfenceassociation.com | 54 | May/June 2017


http://www.americanfenceassociation.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fencepost - May/June 2017

Editor’s Note
Executive Director’s Message
President’s Message
Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencelines
Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Safety First
Minding Your Business
Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Safety
Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
CLFMI
The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
New Members
The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Calendar
FenceSense
Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Intro
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 5
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 6
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 7
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 8
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 9
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 10
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 11
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 12
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Editor’s Note
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 14
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Executive Director’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 16
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - President’s Message
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 18
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Board of Directors | Board of Governors
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Fencelines
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 21
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Mistaken Identity: A Story of Cedar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 23
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 24
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 25
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 26
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety First
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 28
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 29
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 30
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Minding Your Business
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 32
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 33
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Class Act: AFA Education Foundation Bestows Seven Scholarships
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 35
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 36
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Safety
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Health Plan Checkup: Ensuring Your Benefits Program Is the Picture of Health
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 39
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 40
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 41
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 42
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - CLFMI
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 44
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The Road More Traveled: 811 Car and 811 Bike Recognized as Damage Prevention Icons
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 46
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - New Members
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 48
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - The 811 Across Texas Public Awareness Campaign
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 50
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Calendar
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 52
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - FenceSense
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 54
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 55
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 56
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 57
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 58
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 59
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 60
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - 61
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - Index to Advertisers
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - cover4
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert1
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert2
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert3
Fencepost - May/June 2017 - outsert4
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