From The Editor

Let's Focus on the Positive at the Dawn of 2019

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The new year is, traditionally, a time for optimism. With that in mind, we’ll sidestep the recent struggles on Wall Street and other causes of concern for some of the more upbeat reports from around the industrial economy.

In a recent CORE report, we see that November housing starts jumped up after two sluggish months, reaching its highest level since April. Moreover, housing starts were up 5.1 percent year over year through November.

A similar tale played out in the automotive world. While the monthly fortunes were reversed, with November’s numbers down following an uptick in October, year-to-date production was up 0.5 percent.

Finally, unemployment claims remained near a 49-year low at the end of 2018.

The Conference Board’s most recent Leading Economic Index showed an upturn in November. Positive contributions from building permits, the ISM New Orders Index, the yield spread and consumer expectations for business conditions more than offset the negative contributions from weekly initial claims for unemployment insurance, stock prices and the average workweek, the Aluminum Association reports.

Finally, the ISM released its final PMI for calendar year 2018, and the results remain positive. While the rate of growth slowed significantly from November, the Manufacturing PMI for December continued to demonstrate expansion in the sector.

Whatever the indicators, here’s hoping for nothing but the best for the entire metal industry, particularly the distribution segment that remains an instrumental part of a healthy metals supply chain.