The Chemical Activity Barometer, a leading economic indicator, posted a strong gain in February of 0.4%, following a 0.4% January gain.
Created by the American Chemistry Council, the CAB indicator also registered a steady 0.3% gain every month during the third quarter of 2016.
CAB is now up 5.0% over this time last year, marking its strongest year-over-year performance since September 2010, ACC reports. On an unadjusted basis the CAB climbed 0.1% in February, following a 0.5% gain in January.
The CAB consists of four primary components incorporating a variety of indicators: production, equity prices, product prices and inventories.
In February all four of the core categories for the CAB improved, with the diffusion index strengthening to 71%. Production-related indicators were positive, with the housing report indicating slipping starts, but growing permits, ACC adds.
In a separate ACC report, the U.S. Chemical Production Regional Index rose by 0.5% in January, following an upwardly revised 0.2% gain in December and a 0.4% increase in November, as measured on a three-month moving average.
The council says chemical production in January was higher across all regions, with especially large gains in the Gulf Coast and Ohio Valley, reflecting the relatively large share of basic industrial chemical production in those regions.
Gains were seen in production output of pesticides, organic chemicals, adhesives, coatings, fertilizers, synthetic dyes and pigments, consumer products, other specialty chemicals, and industrial gases.
ACC says these increases were partially offset by declines in the production of manufactured fibers, plastic resins, synthetic rubber, inorganic chemicals, chlor-alkali, and pharmaceuticals.