Region’s manufacturing activity picks up steam in September

Nearly all index components trending in positive direction

manufacturing activity

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

The Milwaukee-area PMI in September made its largest one-month increase since the start of the year and nearly all components of the index were trending in a positive direction.

The region’s seasonally-adjusted PMI, part of the Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing, registered 60.24 in September. It was the second highest reading of the year behind March. The 4.83 point increase over August’s reading was the largest jump since a more than 8 point jump between December and January.

Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the region’s manufacturing sector. The index has been in positive territory since November, but had declined for two straight months over the summer.

Production and new orders were up modestly in the latest report, but employment saw a 7.5 point increase to register 63.67.

As an indication of the increased activity, the inventory index continued to show declines as did customer inventories. Supplier deliveries were slower trending towards being slower.

Many of the survey respondents’ comments reflected higher levels of demand. A few commented that resin prices were increasing as a result of Hurricane Harvey’s impact.

The business outlook for the next six months did worsen slightly. The report’s diffusion index, which tries to eliminate bias toward positive or negative responses, dropped from 64.71 percent to 58.82 percent. The report showed a decrease in the number of people expecting improved conditions while more people were expecting things to get worse.

The improved employment outlook was primarily driven by an increase in the need for blue collar workers, with the index increasing from 50.3 to 61.6. The white collar index was down slightly from 53.3 to 52.8.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at 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.

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