Composites Index trends lower yet still in growth mode

The GBI: Composites Fabricating Index registered 56.6 in July, indicating that he US composites industry was experiencing modestly slower growth as compared to the first quarter of 2018.

The GBI: Composites Fabricating Index registered 56.6 in July, indicating that the composites industry is experiencing modestly slower growth as compared to the first quarter of 2018. July’s result, however, is not only higher than the average growth rate experienced during the whole of 2017, but is also 7.5% higher than during the same month one year earlier.  The Gardner Intelligence team’s review of the underlying data for the month indicates that the Index was pulled higher by Production, Supplier Deliveries and Backlogs. The Index — an averages-based calculation — was pulled lower by Employment, New Orders and Exports. For a second month in a row, composites fabricators reported a contraction in export levels. 

Converting each of the six Index subcomponents into three-month moving averages illustrates one commonality across all of the indicators, which is that growth appears to be decelerating as we move into the third quarter of 2018. This slowdown contrasts with the fast expansion measured by each of the metrics during the early months of 2018. However, some results require analysis within a larger context. Gardner Intelligence believes this is certainly the case with the Employment sub-index. As recorded in July, this component of the Composites Fabricating Index could have moved lower not because demand by fabricators for labor was slowing, but because of the significant shortage of available labor. Fabricators were not able to hire the number of people they would have desired, and this lack of available new hires may have resulted in the lower Employment readings.

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