Mixed data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago this week:
On Tuesday, the Fed said its monthly economic activity index fell in August. Three of the four categories that comprise the index were negative, and it decreased to -0.43 after finishing positive at +0.02 in July.
Production-related indicators still finished August in positive territory at +0.01, but the rate fell significantly from July’s +0.26.
One day earlier, the Fed’s Midwest Manufacturing index increased 0.6 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted level of 85.0. Revised data showed the index had increased 0.3 percent in July. Regional output in August rose 7.6 percent year over year, and national output increased 4.2 percent.
The Changing Gears team is getting ready to take a look at manufacturing in September. And, there are some eye opening numbers about manufacturing, the auto industry and our region in a new report from the Federal Reserve.
Federal Reserve of Chicago
According to Paul Traub, senior economist for the Chicago Fed’s office in Detroit, auto industry employment in the Fed’s 7th district — Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin — is now just below 204,000 people, or about 9.3 percent of manufacturing jobs here.
The district does not include Ohio, which is one of the nation’s biggest automotive and manufacturing states.
In 2000, auto industry employment in those states alone was 474,000, or about 14.4 percent of all manufacturing jobs here. That loss of 270,000 jobs represents a 57 percent decline in auto jobs over the past decade in those states.
“It’s quite dramatic,” Traub said. “The question is whether we’ll see some recovery.”