US Industrial Production Hits Six-Month High; Builder Confidence Up Modestly

by on March 17, 2014 2:16 pm BST

Industrial production in the United States increased to a six-month high in February, increasing .8 percent. This was the largest gain since May 2009, and economists believe that the strong data was a result of the freezing weather subsiding.

Demand from consumers and businesses increased, which will help bail out manufacturers that have pent up inventory. Gennadiy Goldberg, a TD Securities strategist, said “once the weather effects have rolled off, underlying demand is better than expected.”

Builder confidence for newly-built, single-family homes increased by one point to 46, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). Weather is, once again, blamed for the poor showing since late last year. “The March HMI mirrors last month’s sentiment, as builders continued to be affected by poor weather and difficulties in finding lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Kevin Kelly.

There is worry that sales will not meet Spring expectations, including factors like usable lots and a shortage in inventories. However, a sub-indicator of buying traffic did pick up two points last month. Although, the broader housing sector still remains shaky.