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January 2021 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The Economy

Chances of another stimulus package increased as Democrats sweep the week’s senate runoff in Georgia. An additional stimulus would accelerate the nation’s return to pre-pandemic gross domestic product and unemployment levels.

For the first time in eight months, the U.S. economy saw job loss in December as the pandemic surges. The Labor Department reported that payrolls fell by 140,000, below economists expectations. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%.

Key Indicators

Architecture firm billings declined for the ninth consecutive month in November. The ABI score of 46.3 indicates that the pace of the billings decline accelerated from October.

The December Purchasing Managers Index registered 60.7%, up 3.2 percentage points from the November reading of 57.5%. The New Orders Index registered 67.9%, up 2.8 percentage points from the November reading. The Production Index registered 64.8%, an increase of 4 percentage points compared to the November reading of 60.8%.

The Consumer Confidence Index declined in December, after decreasing in November. The Index now stands at 88.6, down from 92.9 in November.

Industry News

On Dec. 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the creation of the Aluminum Import Monitoring and Analysis system. The system will collect and publish data on aluminum imports into the U.S. It is expected to be available on Jan. 25, 2021.

Bullish sentiment was expected to persist in January in the U.S. steel market, according to the monthly survey of the market by S&P Global Platts. Most participants expect higher steel and raw material prices in coming weeks, as well as increased production. However, with the steel industry finding itself in a strong upswing going into 2021, several respondents questioned expressed concern about a possible similar swing in the other direction.

For more information, view the January 2021 Market Insight Guide below or contact your local sales representative.

Metalwest Market Insight - January 2021