A jump in industrial production fueled a sharp rise in the national activity index, at 0.88 in February vs a revised plus 0.02 in January.
Contributing 0.50 to February's index was the production component with the employment component also strongly positive, at 0.31. The component for sales, orders, and inventories made a contribution of 0.09, reflecting ISM indications for an inventory build, while the downward pull from the only negative component, personal consumption & housing, eased to minus 0.02 from minus 0.10. The decline here largely reflects a falloff in housing starts.
But today's report in sum is very positive and, with the 3-month average gaining strength at 0.37, hints at factory-led strength for the first quarter.