Just one word. Are you listening?

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If you’re a fan of “The Graduate” (1967), you know well the one word of advice passed on to the new college graduate, Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman), by a friend of his parents:

Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
Benjamin: Yes, sir.
Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
Benjamin: Yes, I am.
Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

Mr. McGuire might have seen July 2010 in his crystal ball. The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly report on factory output lists Plastics (with rubber products) as the fastest growing segment.

The news remains strong overall for manufacturing, which had its 12th consecutive month of expansion. ISM, in its survey of executives, found there was growth in new orders, production and employment for July. On the downside, supplier deliveries were slower and inventories grew.

As measured by the ISM index, manufacturing growth in July (55.5) was a little slower than it was in June (56.2), but it’s still close to the average rate of growth (56.3) for the past 12 months.

After plastics/rubber, the next top growth sectors, in order, were:
• Miscellaneous Manufacturing
• Paper Products
• Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components
• Transportation Equipment
• Primary Metals
• Textile Mills
• Computer & Electronic Products
• Fabricated Metal Products
• Chemical Products.

The four industries reporting contraction in July are:
• Nonmetallic Mineral Products
• Furniture & Related Products
• Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products
• Machinery.

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