Milwaukee-area manufacturing contracting again in August

Third time in the last four months the sector has shrunk

Last updated on September 3rd, 2019 at 05:29 pm

The Milwaukee-area manufacturing sector contracted again in August, the third time in the last four months the sector has shrunk, according to the latest Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.

The report’s Milwaukee-area PMI for August was 47.29, up slightly from 46.44 in July. Any reading below 50 suggests the industry is contracting.

The PMI has averaged 50.5 over last six months, its lowest level since the start of 2016. The index has been trending down since reaching its most recent peak in February 2018.

Respondent commentary about the Milwaukee manufacturing sector in the latest report was mixed. One respondent noted customer orders have decreased and many customers are deferring deliveries. Another said a continued shortage of qualified labor was causing supply chain issues.

“Some are hiring to increase production, while others are reviewing options for temporary layoff of Blue-Collar workers,” a third respondent said.

The employment outlook for both blue- and white-collar workers declined, including a second straight month in negative territory for white-collar workers.

The business outlook, however, remained unchanged. The report’s diffusion index, which seeks to balance positive and negative bias, stayed at 50%. The percentage of respondents expecting improved conditions inched up from 21.4% to 23.1%. The percentage expecting things to get worse saw the exact same shift.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.