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Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

Manufacturing PMIs have surged over the past few months, showing a clear breakout V-shaped recovery that has put the indexes of sentiment at the highest levels since 2018, but the hard numbers continue to lag.

Driving the news: The Fed's index of industrial production, which tracks output at factories, mines and utilities, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.6% last month after consistent increases since May, and output remains 7.1% below where it was in February.

Why it matters: PMI reports, especially in the manufacturing sector, are major indicators economists have pointed to as proof the economy is recovering quickly.

Details: Manufacturing, the biggest component of production, fell 0.3%, after rising 1.2% in August.

  • Utility production fell 5.6% due to a decline in air conditioning use.
  • Mining output rose 1.7%.
  • Capacity utilization, a measure of slack in the industrial economy, fell to 71.5% in September from a revised 72% in August. Economists forecast capacity utilization would rise to 71.8%.

My thought bubble: The tea kettle spout shape of a quick bounceback and decline seen in the chart of manufacturing industrial production is eerily similar to the shape of other U.S. data points, most notably employment.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Dec 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

U.S. markets brace for possible inflation spike

Expand chart
Data: ISM; Chart: Axios Visuals

A spate of recent U.S. economic data releases suggest that inflation could be making a major comeback.

Driving the news: Thursday's report on the U.S. services sector for November from the Institute for Supply Management was slightly better than expected but still down from October's reading, however, the bigger story was in the prices paid index.

DOJ cites discrimination in lawsuit against Texas over voting districts

Attorney General Merrick Garland. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Monday filed a lawsuit against Texas, alleging Republican state lawmakers discriminated against Black and Latino voters and has "again diluted the voting strength of minority Texans" when they approved new redistricting maps.

Why it matters: A DOJ assessment of the new districts found that they violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.

3 hours ago - World

Biden to warn Putin U.S. will add troops in Eastern Europe if Russia invades Ukraine

Putin meets Biden in Geneva. Photo: Peter Klaunzer - Pool/Keystone via Getty

President Biden will warn Russian President Vladimir Putin when they speak on Tuesday that if Russia invades Ukraine, the U.S. is prepared to increase its troop presence, capabilities and military exercises on NATO's "eastern flank," a senior administration official told reporters.

Why it matters: The administration believes it's increasingly likely that Putin will order an invasion.

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