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Economic News

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Unemployment Rates Falling In Most Metro Areas.

The AP (4/7, Rugaber) reports, “Unemployment rates are falling in most metro areas across the country, suggesting that recent nationwide gains in hiring are widespread and not limited to a few healthy regions.” According to the Labor Department, “more than three-quarters of the nation’s 372 largest metro areas reported lower unemployment rates in February than the previous month,” while “more than 300 areas added jobs in February compared to the previous month.” Moody’s economist Marisa DiNatale said the rise in employment opportunity is “definitely becoming a lot more broad-based.”

UK Manufacturing Growth Unexpectedly Stalls.

Bloomberg News (4/7, Ryan) reports, “UK manufacturing growth unexpectedly stalled in February as declining production of goods from chemicals to plastics dented the industrial recovery.” This is according to a report from the Office for National Statistics, the text of which “casts doubt on the strength of the economy’s rebound from a contraction in the fourth quarter at a time when higher raw-material costs threaten to squeeze manufacturers’ margins,” according to the article. “We’ve been skeptical that the recovery in manufacturing can continue at the pace it has been,” one analyst said, adding, “It will still have a good year. This outturn probably reflects monthly volatility.”

The AP (4/7) reports, “British industrial production fell 1.2 percent in February from January, an official report said Wednesday, marking the largest monthly fall since August 2009 and far worse than analyst expectations for an increase of 0.2 percent. The Office for National Statistics said a 7.8 percent drop in oil and gas extraction was the main reason for the fall, while the manufacturing sector was flat.”

The Financial Times (4/6, Pimlott, Subscription Publication) quotes Simon Kirby of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, who said, “We had the opening salvo of a VAT rise [in January] and that’s it so far, and inflation is likely to dampen spending from now on.” Kirby added, “That’s why the figures are worrying, because of what the recovery will look like for the rest of the year.”

German Factory Orders Skyrocketing.

Bloomberg News (4/7, Black) reports, “German factory orders rose almost five times as much as economists forecast in February, indicating growth in Europe’s largest economy gathered pace in the first quarter.” The German Economy Ministry said that “orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, gained 2.4 percent from January, when they jumped 3.1 percent.” Experts had predicted a gain of 0.5 percent. “With German companies stepping up investment and hiring to meet booming export orders, the European Central Bank is poised to raise interest rates tomorrow to keep a lid on inflation.” Economist Klaus Baader said, “This points to continued strong growth momentum in manufacturing output for the next several months.”

From SME Daily Executive Briefing 4/7/2011


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