Blog Post


52% of CEO’s believe the global economy will be better in 2017, compared to only 27% who anticipated economic improvement a year ago (PricewaterhouseCoopers).

In North America, The Fastener Distributor Index (FDI) signals an overall positive stance. December’s seasonally adjusted FDI reached 51.6, up 1-point from November, and hit the second highest mark of 2016, behind August’s 53.1.


In the January edition of the Fully Threaded Podcast, analyst Dave Manthey discusses the fastener industry outlook for 2017, and the latest FDI* & PMI* results, with host Mike McNulty of Fastener Technology International.


Segments of the Economy
  • Private companies are generally more optimistic, but still taking a wait-and-see approach before making capital investments and allocations to fuel additional growth.
  • Durable goods manufacturing showing activity and inflecting slightly higher, particularly with: gas & welding supplies; metal working; cutting tools; general industrial maintenance, repair, & operations.
  • Residential construction should expect healthy growth in: building & maintenance products and facility maintenance.
  • Non-residential construction expecting modest growth in 2017
  • Institute for Supply Management PMI at 54.7, up for the 4th month in a row and reaching highest level since late 2014 e.g. New Orders and Production Components.
  • The FDI displays sawtooth graph results with figures going above and below 50. However, in the last 6 months, 4 were above 50, indicating conditions are better exiting the year than starting the year.
  • There is potential for inflationary pro-growth policies and infrastructure spending driven by the Trump administration, speculates Manthley.
General Economic Data for 2017
  • 4% increase in spending on construction, year over year (YOY) from November.
  • 8% increase in residential YOY. Single family housing now outpacing multifamily, reversing the recent trend from last year.
  • 95% of survey respondents expected the FDI to be the same or higher in 6 months – a lot of optimism.
  • 67% experienced better or improved sales YOY.
  • 10% increase in hiring YOY.
  • 17,000 jobs added in domestic manufacturing.
  • Concerns
    • – 10% in manufacturing structures.
    • – 0.6% in industrial production YOY, which is the 15th negative reading since September 2015.
    • 75% capacity utilization.
    • Weakness among motor vehicles and machinery.
  • Still, the US economy is fairly healthy
    • 3.5% increase in GDP from 3rd quarter.
    • Regional Fed Surveys show positive results.
    • 5% unemployment rate.

Fastener Distributor Index – December 2016. Download the report here.

*FDI: The Fastener Distribution Index (FDI) is a monthly survey of North American fastener distributors offering insights into current trends and outlooks. It operates as a diffusion index, meaning figures above 50 signal strength, while figures below 50 signal weakness. Over time this should correlate well with what is going on in the fastener industry.)

*PMI: The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of the economic health of the manufacturing sector. The PMI is based on five major indicators: new orders, inventory levels, production, supplier deliveries and the employment environment.