Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Confidence lackluster, but factories humming

| September 01, 2010

Tuesday’s report on consumer confidence was a bit sour, even though the index was up a tad. “Overall, consumers remain apprehensive about the future,” said an official with The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, which manages the survey.

But, hey, that’s just a survey of how people feel. A report this morning shows that manufacturing, which has a more direct impact on trucking, continues to improve. One of the most active manufacturing sectors was transportation equipment, which includes trucks.

Factory activity expanded in August for the 13th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 16th consecutive month, says the Institute for Supply Management. Its data is based on polling supply executives.

ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index for August registered 56.3 percent, an increase of 0.8 over July. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.

Eleven sectors reported growth in August, in the following order: primary metals; apparel, leather & allied products; transportation equipment; fabricated metal products; electrical equipment, appliances & components; miscellaneous manufacturing; computer & electronic products; paper products; chemical products; food, beverage & tobacco products; and printing & related support activities.

The five industries reporting contraction in August were: furniture & related products; petroleum & coal products; nonmetallic mineral products; plastics & rubber products; and machinery.