It was a tremendous surprise to hear and read today that the United States still made things beyond discontent in the Arab World, headaches for Latin America and cars that look as though they were designed by someone with an alcohol problem, made by drunks, and bought by idiots.
It’s obviously a weak report, but it follows a strong January report, which was the strongest we’ve seen in six years,” opined David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor’s. While the index itself slipped from 56.5 from 58.4 anything over 50 signifies growth. This is growth in a sector that has reached post war levels nearing catastrophe.
This index is based on the surveying of purchase managers in 18 manufacturing industries, 11 of which showed significant gains for February. These included machinery, apparel, paper products and consumer electronics. Of the seven that showed contraction most were housing related and no surprise following housing starts data over the last week. Among these: furniture and related products, primary metals, and wood products lagged behind the others in this index.
With exports up more than 20 percent in the last quarter of 2009 it makes sense that these numbers showed real promise on the road to recovery but in an absolutely baffling quip, Mr. Wyss also suggested that these numbers were misleading,”You always have to take these winter reports with a grain of highway salt.” What he means by this is anyone’s guess.
I will suggest, in a far less cryptic fashion, he meant that because of the record snow falls of February in many parts of the country, that people in South Carolina are less inclined to buy new things for their businesses when they are shoveling themselves into their office buildings and factories.
All in all, positive signs for consumers who will undoubtedly ignore them. The economy continues to recover everywhere but in the mind of those who control its destiny, middle America, and the mind of that guy over there.