The American Chemistry Council’s August Chemical Activity Barometer, considered a leading economic indicator, shows growth of the economy is slowing compared to first half of year.
The CAB continued to see moderated upward growth this August, with a 0.2% gain over July as measured on a three-month moving average (3MMA).
This represented a deceleration from the 0.4% gain in July and an average gain of 0.5% for the first six months of 2014, ACC pointed out.
Despite the softening pace, the August CAB marked a string of gains going back to April 2013, the council noted. Though the pace of growth has slowed, current gains have the CAB up a solid 4.3% over this time last year, and the barometer remains at its highest level since January 2008, ACC said.
“Consistent with other recent economic reports, including the Conference Board and the Chicago Fed National Activity Index, the CAB continues to point to a slowly expanding U.S. economy, at least through the first quarter of 2015,” said ACC chief economist Dr. Kevin Swift.
“What makes the CAB unique however, is its lead time in predicting the ebbs and flows of the economy, and the slight drag on plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications parallels the weaker consumer confidence we are seeing,” he added.
For July the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index — a separate report ACC issues each month – rose slightly by 0.4% following a downwardly revised 0.2% gain in June.
Manufacturing output accelerated during July, and on a three-month moving average overall manufacturing production was 0.6% higher.
Within the manufacturing sector, ACC saw output in many key chemistry end-use markets expanding, including appliances, motor vehicles, aerospace, construction supplies, machinery, fabricated metal products, computers, semiconductors, plastic products, rubber products, plywood, printing, and furniture.