The U.S. economy continues its slow growth, according to the American Chemistry Council's (ACC; Washington, D.C.; www.americanchemistry.com) monthly Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) released today. The economic indicator, shown to lead U.S. business cycles by an average of eight months at cycle peaks, increased 0.3% over May on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. The barometer is up 3.5% over a year ago. Heightened production of plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications continues to expand, suggesting further economic gains driven by the consumer.
"Virtually all production-related indicators strengthened in June," said Dr. Kevin Swift, chief economist at the American Chemistry Council. "Most notable is the healthy-paced production of plastic resins used in consumer and institutional applications, suggesting the consumer-led economic expansion is still in place," Swift added. Although conditions in Japan are improving and Europe's recession appears to be bottoming out, growth in China has slowed and prospects in other Asian markets remain weak, producing a plateau in U.S. export volumes.
The CAB is a leading economic indicator derived from a composite index of chemical industry activity. The chemical industry's early position in the supply chain uniquely positions the CAB against other economic indicators.