Manufacturing activity at highest level since early 2015

Sector sees four straight months of growth

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National manufacturing activity in June hit its highest level in nearly a year-and-a-half with gains in new orders, production and employment, according to the Institute for Supply Management.manufacturing activity

The institute’s Purchasing Managers Index registered 53.2 percent for the month, the highest reading since the 53.3 percent in February 2015. Any reading more than 50 suggests the manufacturing sector is expanding. June marked the fourth straight month of expansion after five down months, from October to February.

Respondents to the ISM survey were generally positive about the state of the industry. A fabricated metal products respondent said there was a “very good start of summer for business levels/orders.” A primary metals respondent said orders were slowing from China, but American customers were still steady.

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A transportation equipment respondent said business was strong but slowing slightly, while someone in plastics and rubber products said demand was robust.

The institute’s Report on Business found improvement in new orders, production, employment and new export orders. Supplier deliveries were seen as slowing and customer inventories were considered too high, while respondents said their inventories were contracting.

The report also found that the backlog of orders began growing after contracting in May.

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Thirteen of the 18 industries included in the report were growing, including printing, textile, petroleum and coal, food, beverage and tobacco, fabricated metal, apparel and leather, paper, miscellaneous manufacturing, computers and electronics, chemicals, primary metals, machinery and nonmetallic mineral products.

Electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment and plastics and custom rubber parts manufacturing reported contraction in June.

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