Region’s manufacturing growth rebounded in January

Six-month business outlook improves

manufacturing activity

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:10 am

After two months of slowing growth, the southeastern Wisconsin manufacturing sector gained momentum in January, according to the latest Marquette-ISM Report on Manufacturing.

The Milwaukee-area PMI increased from 52.87 in December to 58.78 in January. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector. The index had declined the previous two months and in three of the last four, falling from the mid-60s in August.

The business outlook for the next six months also improved. The number of respondents expecting improved conditions increased from 38 to 42 percent while those expecting things to get worse dropped from 31 to 17 percent. The diffusion index, which balances positive and negative bias, increased from 53 to 62.5 percent.

Despite the improvement in the report’s numbers, survey respondents did express some concern. One respondent noted uncertainty around tariffs is continuing this year and another said markets were fluctuating because of political instability.

Among other components of the report, production improved by 11 points to 57.8 and order backlog dropped from 53.9 to 36.4. New orders improved by almost 8 points but remained in negative territory at 44.2.

Respondents said lead times were increasing for many items and product delivery times were slowing. The average lead time for capital expenditures increased from 110 to 151 days, production materials increased from 48 to 58 days and maintenance, repair and operating suppliers increased from 24 to 30 days.

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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.