Manufacturing activity remained slow in August

    Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity showed little improvement in August, according to the latest Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.

    The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index was at 47.67 in August, only slightly up from 47.12 in July.

    Any number more than 50 indicates growth, while less than 50 signals contraction. The PMI has below 50 for the fifth straight month. So far this year, the index has been positive only in the first quarter.

    In the August survey, respondents said:
    • Business seems to be hit or miss with busy weeks being followed by slow weeks.
    • There is continued pessimism for long-term outlook.
    • There are plans to institute a Kanban system as well as some plans to shut them down.
    • Suppliers’ deliveries times are still bad.
    • Customers have little confidence in order books resulting in uncertainty about what the future will hold, but there is still some optimism.

    Inventories and backlog of orders grew in August, while new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, customers’ inventories, prices, exports and imports declined or slowed.

    Seasonally adjusted blue collar employment grew from 52.8 in July to 54.3 in August, and seasonally adjusted white collar employment grew from 45.7 in July to 50.7 in August.  

    In the six-month outlook on business conditions, respondents indicated an upward shift in positive expectations compared with July. Approximately 38 percent of respondents expect positive conditions over the next six months, 53.8 percent expect conditions to remain the same and 7.7 percent of respondents expect conditions to worsen within the next six months.

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