Growth of the U.S. economy is moving from “slow” to “moderate,” officials at the American Chemistry Council say, citing the organization’s latest monthly Chemical Activity Barometer.

The economic indicator – shown to lead U.S. business cycles by an average of eight months at cycle peaks – increased 0.2 percent over June on a three-month moving average basis.
The barometer is now up 3.9 percent over a year ago, the most since its initial release in June 2012.

All four major indicator categories showed growth, the study revealed. Those categories, according to a news release, are:

  • Production
  • Equity prices
  • Product and selling prices
  • Inventories

Meanwhile, the barometer’s readings for May were revised upward by 0.1 percent while June was revised down by 0.1 percent, officials say.

“The Chemical Activity Barometer is signaling a moderately-improving U.S. economy into early-2014,” Dr. Kevin Swift, chief economist at ACC. “Although other recent economic reports have been mixed, fundamentals appear strong, with housing demand still growing and consumers still spending,” he added.

Swift points out recent negative housing reports likely reflect a pause rather than a change of trajectory. Permits remain higher than housing starts, mortgage rates remain low, and employment prospects are improving, he explained.

Likewise, plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications are strengthening. Retail sales are likely to continue to strengthen as moderate job creation outweighs the lingering effects of payroll tax increases, according to Swift.

Earlier this month the Standard and Poor’s 500 reached an all-time record, with chemical equities also nearing all-time highs. Equity prices are often a good indicator of future activity and represent components of most leading economic indicator systems.

About the American Chemistry Council
The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. Its members, according to the organization, apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people’s lives better, healthier, and safer. It is also committed to improved environmental, health, and safety performance through Responsible Care, common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues, and health and environmental research and product testing.


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