Manufacturing Optimists Need a Reality Check

Mish Shedlock |

The_Secret.jpgExpectations of Six Months Ago vs. Today's Reality

On Thursday, I noted Bloomberg stated: 

There may very well be something wrong with the manufacturing sector, at least in the Northeast where the Empire State index has been in deep negative ground for the last two months followed now by a minus 6.0 headline for the Philly Fed index." 

With that comment, let's dig deeper into the latest Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey.

Here is a chart that shows current conditions compared to manufacturer's expectations six month's from now:

Current vs. Future Activity

Current and Future General Activity Indexes_1.jpg

The Future is Bright?

The Philadelphia Fed reported ... 

 Future Indexes Remained Generally Optimistic

The survey’s broadest indicator of future growth edged slightly higher this month. The future general activity index increased 1 point, to 44.0, its highest reading since January. The future index for new orders, at 44.4, decreased 2 points, while the future shipments index, at 41.4, increased 4 points. Furthermore, 28 percent of the firms expect expansion in their workforce over the next six months, while 10 percent expect a reduction."

Future Expectations vs. Reality

To check the usefulness of these future projections, I downloaded the data, then shifted the look-ahead projections by six months and plotted those forecasts vs. current conditions: 

Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing_1.jpg

The above chart shows what manufacturers expected six months ago vs. what actually happened. A major portion of the time, look-ahead sentiment vs. reality are inversely correlated. Note in particular, the sharp rise in expectations vs. the actual sharp decline (third purple box) that started in November or December of 2014.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


Emerging Growth

Taranis Resources Inc.

Taranis Resources Inc is an exploration stage company. The Company along with its subsidiaries is engaged in the acquisition and exploration of mineral properties. Its projects include Thor Property in…

Private Markets


A peer-to-Peer authentic photo marketplace disrupting the $10B commercial photography industry.

XY Find It

Founded by serial entrepreneur Arie Trouw, XY Findables follows a single guiding principle: customers should never lose anything important again. With over 50,000 users around the world, more than 100,000…