Manufacturing reports mixed

U.S. manufacturing growth is at its highest level since April 2011, as production, hiring and orders continued to rise in November.

According to the latest numbers from the Institute for Supply Management, the purchasing managers index was at 57.3 in November, up from 56.4 in October. A number above 50 indicates expansion.

November was the sixth straight month of national manufacturing growth.

In Milwaukee, the manufacturing sector continued to grow, but at a markedly slower pace in November.

The Milwaukee-area PMI was 52.06 in November, down from 57.10 in October. This is the third consecutive month of growth in Milwaukee’s manufacturing sector.

New orders, production, employment, prices, backlog of orders, imports and exports were growing in November, while supplier deliveries, inventories and customer inventories were slowing or declining.

According to survey respondents:

  • “Business remains sluggish in most of the segments of our business, mirroring overall economic growth. Commodities are readily available and prices have remained stable.”
  • “Building up inventory for February-April peak.”
  • “Experiencing a cash flow problem with an off shore supplier.”
  • “Raw materials are readily available.”
  • “Automotive and Tesla are positive.”

Blue collar hiring was 47.7, down significantly from 52.9 in October. White collar hiring was 56.1, down from 57.3 a month ago.

In the six-month outlook, 21.1 percent of those surveyed expect positive conditions going forward, down from 30.4 percent in October. And 63.2 percent expect the same conditions in the next six months, down from 65.2 last month. Finally, 15.8 percent expect worse conditions ahead, up significantly from 4.3 percent in October.

One respondent said about the outlook: “Commercial construction is improving. More hotels are being built, along with schools and hospitals.”

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