• Small Business Hiring Rises, Ford To Increase Electric F-150 Production, Factory Activity Slows

    Small Business Hiring Rises

    Small business hiring in December hit the highest level since 2014.

    Paychex reported that its index with data analytics firm IHS Markit rose to 100.94 from 100.72 in November, marking the seventh consecutive month of increases. It’s the highest reading since August 2014.

    The payroll company pulls data from some 350,000 clients employing fewer than 50 workers. A reading above 100 means that hiring is at or better than the benchmark year of 2004 when economic growth was deemed "normal” for the purposes of creating the index.

    Wages increased 4.27% for the year, hitting the highest growth in the decade that Paychex has been tracking the measure. “Employers are responding to the pressures of the tight labor market by raising wages and workers are benefiting,” Martin Mucci, Paychex’s CEO, said in a statement.

    Texas led on hiring and Tennessee was at the bottom of the list. Paychex noted that small business hiring in Tennessee, which had been one of the strongest states before the pandemic, fell in December, one of the 10 months of declines last year.

    Across all industries, leisure and hospitality hiring continues to lead, recording a 21.36% increase for 2021.


    Ford To Increase Electric F-150 Production

    Ford Motor Co. is nearly doubling production of its F-150 Lightning at a Michigan factory in response to higher demand for the electric pickup.

    The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker announced Tuesday that it will build 150,000 of the pickups at its Rough Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn. In December, the company halted reservations after hitting 200,000 reservations, saying at the time that it was oversubscribed for the pickup’s production capacity.

    “The reality is clear: People are ready for an all-electric F-150 and Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of the Americas and International Markets Group, said in a statement.

    On Thursday, the company will begin converting the reservations to orders. Full production of the Lightning is expected to start this year.

    In September, Ford announced plans to invest $11.4 billion in assembly and battery plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.

    Factory Activity Slows

    Factory activity continued to expand in December but at a slower pace than the previous month.

    The Institute of Supply Management’s monthly index had a reading of 58.7% last month, a 2.4 percentage point drop from November.

    Indexes for new orders and production fell while the index for the backlog of orders increased. All of the indexes remain at high levels.

    “The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment, with indications of improvements in labor resources and supplier delivery performance,” Timothy Fiore, chair of ISM’s manufacturing business survey committee, said in a statement. “Shortages of critical lowest-tier materials, high commodity prices and difficulties in transporting products continue to plague reliable consumption.”

    All 15 manufacturing industries ISM tracks showed growth in December, with apparel, leather and allied products leading the way.

    Source: www.CoStar.com