U.S. manufacturing weathers global volatility

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Isolated cases of Ebola in the United States and slow growth in Europe have caused investor concern, but U.S. manufacturing has shown resilience despite the fears, with output increasing 3.7 percent in the last 12 months — doubling from its 1.5 percent rate in January.

That’s according to an economist with the National Association of Manufacturers, who said in a report that global financial markets were “highly volatile”last week.

Industrial production in the eurozone fell 1.8 percent in August and activity was down largely across the board, most notably in Germany (down 4.3 percent), the eurozone’s largest economy, wrote Chad Moutray, chief economist with the National Association of Manufacturers.

Sluggish income and labor market growth in Europe has also pushed inflationary pressures lower, with year-over-year pricing changes of just 0.3 percent in September.

Still, the U.S. economy has shown signs of resilience. Despite a softer August, manufacturing production increased 0.5 percent in September.

During the past 12 months, output in the sector has risen 3.7 percent. Although this was slower than its July year-over-year pace, it reflects a nice improvement from the more sluggish 1.5 percent rate in January.

Surveys from the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation and the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve banks observed expanding activity levels in their latest reports. Each measure eased somewhat in October, but they grew nonetheless.

The weakest of these reports was the Empire State Manufacturing Survey, which saw a slight contraction in new orders. Yet even there, respondents remained mostly optimistic about demand and output during the next six months. Along those lines, the Manufacturers Alliance has a generally upbeat outlook, predicting that manufacturing production will increase by 3.4 percent in 2014 and 4.0 percent in 2015.