Manufacturing sector improves slightly in July

A key measure of Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity indicated a slight improvement in July, although it continued to be in negative territory for the fourth straight month.

The seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers Index was at 47.12 in July, up from 46.55 in June, according to the Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.  

Any number more than 50 indicates growth, while less than 50 signals contraction. The PMI has been at or above 50 for 17 of the past 23 months.

In the July survey, respondents said:

  • Although June was slow, July seems to have picked up in terms of orders and production.
  • Many of the suppliers are not growing significantly.
  • Distributors have been stocking less.
  • There are still plans to institute a Kanban system.

Supplier deliveries, inventories and customers’ inventories grew or quickened in July, while new orders, production, employment, prices, backlog of orders, exports and imports declined.

Seasonally adjusted blue collar employment declined from 58.8 in June to 52.8 in July, and seasonally adjusted white collar employment declined from 62.8 in June to 45.7 in July.

In the six-month outlook on business conditions, respondents indicated a downward shift in positive expectations compared with June. Approximately 28.6 percent of respondents expect positive conditions over the next six months, 57.1 percent expect conditions to remain the same and 14.3 percent of respondents expect conditions to worsen within the next six months.

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