Rebounding factories slow a bit in September

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The recovery is still on, but it’s getting winded. That’s the conclusion of the Institute for Supply Management, which released its monthly manufacturing report today.

While ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index “reading of 54.4 percent is still quite positive, the overall picture is less encouraging,” says ISM’s Norbert Ore. “The growth of new orders continued to slow… Production is currently growing at a faster rate than new orders, but it typically lags and would be expected to weaken further in the fourth quarter. Manufacturing has enjoyed a stronger recovery than other sectors of the economy, but it appears that weaker growth is the expectation for the fourth quarter.”

The index was 56.3 in August. Readings over 50 reflect manufacturing growth.

Thirteen manufacturing industries reported growth in September, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Primary Metals; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Computer & Electronic Products; Furniture & Related Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Chemical Products; Paper Products; Machinery; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

Three reported contraction: Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

Also indicating a slowdown was the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, compiled by the American Trucking Associations. A report this week says it fell 2.7 percent (seasonally adjusted) in August.

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