The U.S. industrial economy is on track for its strongest economic performance in nearly four decades, goosed by a huge jobs-creation report in March, a new round of government stimulus checks, and improvements in the public health sector, FTR Freight Intelligence said today.
That hot growth is expected to continue, since manufacturing and overall employment rates are still short of their pre-pandemic levels, and investors foresee sunny days ahead as measured by record highs in the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index, FTR analyst Steve Graham wrote in the firm’s “Monday Morning Coffee" blog post today.
Looking further ahead, additional economic gains are likely in store, fueled by the Biden Administration’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure renewal plan and by accelerating vaccine rollouts, he said.
However, even as the recovery continues, it is hitting roadblocks such as worker absenteeism in the face of lingering coronavirus concerns, as well as limited supplies of parts and materials exacerbated by a burst of Arctic weather that froze activity throughout the southwest in February, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) noted in a recent manufacturing report.
“Respondents noted that the severe winter storms in February caused problems with supply chains and that while improving in March, production struggled to make up for some of the downtimes. The shortfall in inputs is likely to last through the summer in some industries. The future looks bright for manufacturing, but supply chain problems will not fade very fast,” Graham said in the FTR report.
Another hiccup in the accelerating U.S. recovery from the pandemic recession is a shortage of the Class 8 trucks required to move both raw materials and finished products, as vehicle production is being constrained by a global microchip shortage and port congestion, FTR said in a separate report today.