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October 2020 Insight Guide: Market Indicators

The Economy

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment fell last week, but still remained at recession levels. Personal income dropped in August, emphasizing the need for another relief package for businesses and the unemployed.

The U.S. economy added 661,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.9%. While this is a modest improvement, the economy is far from recuperating the jobs lost during March and April.

Key Indicators

The Architecture Billings Index remained at 40 for the third consecutive month, showing business conditions still stalled at architecture firms. While fewer firms reported declining billings in August than during early months of the pandemic, an index score below 50 still indicates a decline in billings.

The September Purchasing Managers Index registered at 55.4%, down 0.6 points from the August reading of 56%. The figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the fifth month in a row, as a score above 50 represents expansion. The New Orders Index registered at 60.2%, down 7.4 points from August. The Production Index registered at 61%, down 2.3 points from the previous month.

Industry News

Iron-ore supplier Cleveland-Cliffs is morphing into a steel giant. Cliffs plans to buy the U.S. assets of ArcelorMittal. The transaction could make Cliffs the second largest U.S. steelmaker, with about 17 million tons of capacity. This could bail out the the U.S. steel industry from a looming capacity issue. This would bring the number of significant U.S. suppliers from five to four; fewer producers means they have more control over supply. In theory, this should mean more stability in commodity prices and more profitability.

For more information, view the October 2020 Metalwest Market Insight Guide below or contact your local sales rep.

Metalwest Market Insight - October 2020