Milwaukee manufacturers report robust growth

Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity continued to grow in October, according to the latest report from the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee.

The Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing showed the PMI (Purchasers Managers Index), a measure of manufacturing growth, registered at 57.10 in October, up from 55.0 in September.

Any reading above 50 indicates growth, while below 50 suggests contraction. The index showed contraction in August, at 48.21.

Respondent comments included:

  • “Adding additional supplier has added some lead time to our process. This is a short term issue.”
  • “Production and new orders-lower.”

The indices for new orders, production, employment, prices, exports and imports showed growth in October, while supplier deliveries, inventories, customers’ inventories and backlog of orders were slower or declining.

Both blue collar and white collar employment were growing. Blue collar employment was at 52.9, up from 54.7 in September. White collar employment was at 57.3, up from 54.7 last month.

Regarding employment, respondents said:

  • “Lean initiatives are impacting blue collar employment.”
  • “Staff increases, planned hiring and ‘right-sizing’ are impacting white collar employment.”

In a six-month outlook on business conditions, fewer manufacturers expected positive conditions in the October survey. About 30.4 percent of those surveyed expect positive conditions in the next six months, down from 40.9 percent in September. About 65.2 percent expect the same conditions moving forward, up from 40.9 percent last month. And just 4.3 percent expect worse conditions over the next six months, down from 18.2 percent in September.

Respondents said about the outlook:

  • “Healthcare segment is turning up.”
  • “Business is still soft. We expect to finish the year maybe 4 to 5 percent over 2012. We expect the first quarter of 2014 to be the same.”

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