Milwaukee’s manufacturing sector growth slows in January

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The manufacturing economy in metro Milwaukee slowed somewhat in January, but remains relatively healthy, according to the most recent business survey released by the Milwaukee chapter of the Institute for Supply Management.

The seasonally adjusted index dropped in January to 57 – an index number of 50 or higher represents expansion. The index was at 60.5 in December and was 55 in January, 2010.

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New orders received dropped three points to 64, production dropped eight points to 59, and backlog fell four points to 50.

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Supplier lead times dropped one point to 29, while inventory levels rose one point to 54.

Blue collar rose four points to 61, and white collar employment remained at 57.

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The slight falling off in the January survey come on the heels of several strong months for the ISM-Milwaukee survey. The seasonally adjusted index for October, November and December stood at 60, 58.5 and 56.5, respectively.

Many economists have predicted that manufacturing will continue growth through 2011 – however commodity prices and employee availability remain concerns.

The U.S.’ gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 3.2 percent during the fourth quarter of 2010, according to the U.S. Commerce Department, an improvement over its 2.6 percent growth during the third quarter.

“With more than a million jobs created by the private sector over the last year, there is no doubt that America’s economy is stronger today than it was two years ago when President Obama took office. Today’s GDP number is yet another strong indication of that,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke. “Growth in consumer spending and exports during the fourth quarter has led to increasing optimism about our economy.”


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