The US Industrial economy held steady last week (if pipeline scheduling is correct), while consumer spending remained firm amidst a strong 2009 Christmas-shopping season.
The Production Index (In terms of its 28-day moving average of gas-flow scheduling into US industrial facilities) was unchanged from the prior weeks peak, standing higher than at any time since September 29th, 2008. The measure (at 107.5) is just shy of 2008's September pre-plunge peak (108.1) and 2007's high of 110.2 (It bottomed May 28th at 86.7).
In its dailies (as evidenced by the "Part 7" industrial daily posts on the IV-CWEI site) the week reflected the normal Thanksgiving-weekend softness early on, then firmed up a bit.
The Paperboard-based Consumption Index eased as well, though still at very high levels. Within its dailies, the index reflected the slight softening throughout and came in below seasonals. Over the past several weeks, the Consumption index has fallen short of the ramp implied by seasonal factors, presumably because it attained that ramp prematurely weeks earlier when the Christmas shopping rush looks to have begun early.
The Inventories measure (the cumulative weekly difference between the Production Index and the Consumption Index) continues to drop and remains well-below pre-recessionary levels.