Index shows July growth

The Milwaukee area manufacturing sector continued to recover in July, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee

The Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing showed a purchasing managers’ index, a measure of industry growth, of 52.43 in July, up from 51.55 in June. Any number above 50 indicates growth.
July continued a growth pattern that started last month, when the index jumped from 40.67 in May to 51.55.

New orders, production, supplier deliveries, inventories, backlog of orders, exports and imports grew significantly in July. Employment and prices grew more slowly, while customers’ inventories declined.

Blue collar employment was 50.9 in July, up from 49.2 in June. White collar employment remained flat at 47.3.

Respondent comments included in the report were:

  • Most markets and cost drivers have been stable during the month. The longer term forecast is for commodity prices to drift sideways with little notable movement up or down, unless there is an unforeseen natural disaster or geopolitical event.
  • The plastic industry is still soft. Earlier in the year acrylic & polycarbonate both increased in price. However, because of the soft market conditions, price (increases) were scaled back, or in some cases, eliminated completely. A recent UHMW increase was cut back to half of what was originally accounted.

However, just 24 percent of respondents expected positive conditions for the next six months, down from 28 percent in June. About 64 percent expect the same conditions and 12 percent expect worse conditions going forward.

Comments about the outlook included:

  • Business conditions remain very sluggish
  • Demand not increasing
  • Flat sales, normally busy

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