Industrial Activity - September 2010

The Southeast Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for August 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 3.1 index points in August, nearly double its loss in July. The loss 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 August dropped 2.7 percent from July, but on a year-over-year basis growth moderated.

  • The American Trucking Associations' (ATA) index for August decreased from last month but posted a moderate 2.9 percent increase from its year-earlier level.

The value of international shipments passing though District ports continued to improve in July. For the first time since mid-2009, exports and imports posted gains.

  • 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 July increased 4.8 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
  • Exports and imports improved in Mobile, Miami, and Savannah. However, trade activity continued to be weak in Tampa.

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 3 percent since mid-August and remain near the highs from earlier in the year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
  • Inventories have averaged 186 million barrels during the five weeks ending Sept. 16, above the seasonal high of 177 for this time of year.

According to the EIA, crude oil production in the Sixth District continued to rise.

  • 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 averaged 5.32 million barrels per day in 2009 and is expected to increase by 70,000 barrels per day in 2010.
  • The EIA also estimates that the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico will result in a loss of crude oil production in 2011 of an average of 82,000 barrels per day.

District vehicle production through September advanced strongly 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 74 percent from last year's levels, a faster improvement than the nation's 48 percent rise.
  • Hyundai-Kia and Nissan have accounted for almost two-thirds of the District's total vehicle production so far in 2010.