Manufacturing Update, December 2015

Export growth (based on the three-month moving average ending in October) fell 8.8 percent compared to the same period in 2014.  Imports declined by 2.3 percent in the same period. The trade balance in manufacturing, which was a negative $754 billion in 2014 is on track to rise by $60 billion to a negative $814 billion in 2015.

U.S. manufacturers have faced numerous challenges in 2015, including a stronger dollar, heightened uncertainty about slowing economic growth in China and the dramatic fall in the prices of oil and natural gas which has proven to be a two-edged sword.  The manufacturing index was unchanged in November. The index has been volatile throughout 2015.  On a year-over-year basis, the index is a mere 1% above its November 2014 level.