Industrial Activity - October 2010

The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for September indicated that manufacturing growth continued to slow across the District.

  • The Southeast PMI, produced by the Kennesaw State University Econometric Center in conjunction with the Atlanta Fed, lost 1.3 index points in September. The index indicates that the manufacturing sector is still expanding but at a slower pace.

Note: A PMI over 50 indicates expanding manufacturing activity, below 50, contracting activity.

The truck tonnage index for September climbed 5.1 percent from a year earlier.

  • The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) index for September increased 2.2 percent from August and 5.1 percent from September 2009.
  • September marks the 10th straight month in which tonnage volumes were up on a year-over-year basis.
  • Besides noting easy comparisons from depressed volumes last year, ATA economists added that current freight volumes have leveled off since midyear.

The value of international shipments passing though District ports continued to improve in August. The pace of exports and imports improved from the previous month and a year earlier.

  • According to U.S. Department of Commerce data, on a year-over-year basis, the value of regional exports and imports for the year ending August increased 9.8 percent and 12.7 percent, respectively.
  • Exports and imports improved in all District ports, led by double-digit growth in Mobile, Miami, New Orleans, and Savannah.

Gulf Coast crude oil inventories have risen above the seasonal average as economic woes continue to suppress U.S. energy consumption.

  • Contrary to historical patterns of stock depletion during the summer months, Gulf Coast crude oil inventories have risen 5 percent since mid-August and are at their highest level since May 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • Inventories have averaged 187 million barrels during the five weeks ending Oct. 7, above the seasonal high of 179 million for this time of year.

According to the EIA, crude oil production in the Sixth District continues on an upward trajectory.

  • District states produced an average of 1.6 million barrels of crude oil per day since the beginning of 2010, up 7 percent from a year earlier.
  • According to the EIA's short-term outlook, national crude oil production will increase by 100,000 barrels per day in 2010 before declining by 60,000 barrels per day in 2011 to an average of 5.4 million barrels per day.

District vehicle production through late October advanced from low levels in 2009, according to data from Automotive News.

  • Compared with a year earlier, District vehicle production through Sept. 25 improved for all automakers with assembly facilities in the Southeast.
  • Overall, District production jumped 66 percent from last year's levels, a faster improvement than the nation's 43 percent rise.
  • Hyundai-Kia and Nissan have accounted for almost two-thirds of the District's total vehicle production so far in 2010.