Manufacturing activity, and the economy in general, kept growing in September, though some related measurements tempered that good news. Wood Products was the leading manufacturing category reporting growth.
The monthly analysis comes from the Institute for Supply Management, which also notes slower supplier deliveries and a contraction of new orders last month.
The Purchasing Managers Index “registered 51.6 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point from August, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 26th consecutive month,” says Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. Measurements over 50 indicate growth.
“The Production Index registered 51.2 percent, indicating a return to growth after contracting in August for the first time since May of 2009,” Holcomb says. “The New Orders Index remained unchanged from August at 49.6 percent, indicating contraction for the third consecutive month. The Backlog of Orders Index decreased 4.5 percentage points to 41.5 percent, contracting for the fourth consecutive month and reaching its lowest level since April 2009, when it registered 40.5 percent.”
The 12 factory sectors that reported growth in September are, in order: Wood Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Chemical Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.
The six industries reporting contraction are, in order: Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.
Holcomb says respondents’ comments “reflect concern over the sluggish economy, political and policy uncertainty in Washington, and forecasts of ongoing high unemployment that will continue to put pressure on demand for manufactured products.”