The nonmetallic mineral products industry leading index increased to 255.6 in December from a downwardly revised 253.6 in November. Its six-month smoothed growth rate increased to 3.7 percent in December from a downwardly revised 2.2 percent in November, according to the U.S Geological Survey.
The six-month smoothed growth rate is a compound annual rate that measures the near-term trend. A growth rate above +1.0 percent is usually a signal of future growth in industry activity, while a growth rate below -1.0 percent points to a decrease in activity.
After declining from January through March 2016, the leading index growth rate was above the growth rate threshold (+1.0 percent) that could suggest an increase in industry activity for April and May, declined below the threshold in June, then moved above in July, below in August, and above September through December. In December, the largest positive contribution was average weekly hours, nonmetallic mineral products (0.5), and the lone negative contribution was the S&P stock price index, building products companies (-0.1).
The nonmetallic mineral products industry coincident index, which measures current industry activity, increased to 147.4 in December from a downwardly revised 145.3 in November, its six-month smoothed growth rate increased to 4.3 percent in December from a downwardly revised 1.8 percent in November.
The coincident index growth rate had declined steadily February through August. September and October reversed that trend, and the November and December coincident indices growth rate were above +1.0 percent that could signal strength in the nonmetallic mineral products industry near term.
In December, the two largest positive contributions were the industrial production index, nonmetallic mineral products (0.4) and total employee hours, nonmetallic mineral products (0.9). There were no negative contributions to the coincident index for December.