National manufacturing index ends year on high note

manufacturing activity

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:11 am

Manufacturing activity in the United States continued on an upward trend in December reaching its highest level of the year, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest Report on Business.

manufacturing activity

The December PMI reached 54.7 percent, the highest reading of the year as respondents reported increased demand and an uptick in new orders, production, employment and exports. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the industry.

December was the fourth straight month of expansion for the industry which hit a low point in August at 49.4 percent. The index also started 2016 in negative territory for the first two months, but ended the year showing growth in nine months total.

The growth at the national level supports a finding last week by the Marquette-ISM that showed southeastern Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry in positive territory. That report, however, also showed the growth coming at a slower pace compared to November. 

The national ISM’s measure for new orders increased from 53 in November to 60.2 for December. A total of 12 industries reported an increase in new orders, with one machinery respondent saying business was brisk with an increase in requests for quotes during the month.

“Customers are earmarking funds for capital equipment upgrades,” the respondent said.

Four industries reported a drop in new orders, including furniture, printing, nonmetallic mineral products and plastics and rubber products.

Production increased from 56 to 60.3 with growth coming from 10 industries. The two industries to production declines were nonmetallic mineral products and transportation equipment.

The report’s employment index was slightly improved, moving from 52.3 to 53.1. Nine industries reported employment growth during the month, while six saw declines. The six with declines were apparel, leather and allied products, fabricated metal products, plastics and rubber products, transportation equipment, food, beverage and tobacco products and electrical equipment, appliances and components.

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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.