• Weekly Market Report

Economic Week in Review

The latest economic impact study of the U.S. scrap recycling industry conducted by John Dunham & Associates has been one of the most positive economic reports released recently, confirming that the U.S. recycling industry continues to be an economic leader, job creator, and major exporter.

According to the 2019 Dunham & Associates report, “...the people and firms that purchase, process, and broker recycled materials to be manufactured into new products in America provide 531,510 adults with good jobs in the United States and generate approximately $109.78 billion annually in economic activity.”


ISRI will be releasing more details about the Dunham study shortly, but in the meantime please visit ISRI.org/economy to learn more about the tremendous economic, employment, trade, and tax contributions generated by recycling at the national, state, Congressional, statehouse, and city levels across the United States!

Other U.S. economic reports out last week were somewhat less positive as new releases on housing starts & building permits, industrial production & capacity utilization, and the Conference Board’s index of leading economic indicators all came in below the consensus forecasts. The Federal Reserve reported last week that U.S. industrial production was flat (0.0%) month-on-month last month as the capacity utilization rate slipped from 78.1% in May to 77.9% in June. The consensus forecast was for 0.2% growth and the miss largely reflected a 3.6% drop in utilities output that overshadowed a 0.4% gain in manufacturing output. On a year-over-year basis, the industrial production numbers were better (+1.3% in June Y-o-Y), but the recent trend in U.S. industrial output remains a source of concerns amid signs of decelerating growth and uncertainty on the trade front:


Other economic reports out last week showed U.S. building permits slowed from a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.299 million in May to 1.22 million in June, while housing starts dipped to 1.253 million SAAR last month. Against a consensus forecast for an unchanged reading in June, the Conference Board reported their index of leading economic indicators declined 0.3% last month. According to the Conference Board’s press release, “The US LEI fell in June, the first decline since last December, primarily driven by weaknesses in new orders for manufacturing, housing permits, and unemployment insurance claims,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Senior Director of Economic Research at The Conference Board. ‘For the first time since late 2007, the yield spread made a small negative contribution. As the US economy enters its eleventh year of expansion, the longest in US history, the LEI suggests growth is likely to remain slow in the second half of the year.’”


Markets were more encouraged by the announcement on Monday that the U.S. debt ceiling crisis appears to have been averted. The Wall Street Journal reports “Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate past the 2020 election. The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels. The agreement forgoes the steep spending cuts initially sought by the administration, providing for about $320 billion in spending over two years above limits set in a 2011 budget law that established automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester.” Keep in mind that during this period of full employment, positive economic growth, and low inflation levels, the total federal public debt exceeds $22 trillion (with a T):


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