Manufacturing activity nationally contracted for a second straight month in December, with the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index registering at 48.2.
[caption id="attachment_123799" align="alignright" width="300"]
Milwaukee-area manufacturing activity decreased in November.[/caption]
The reading was down slightly from November’s 48.6 and was the lowest since June 2009, when it was 45.8.
A Milwaukee-area report last week showed
the southeastern Wisconsin manufacturing sector continued to contract for a ninth straight month, although that report is not part of the national index.
The national report did find some improvement in new orders and production, although both areas continued their contraction from November. Employment went from being in growth territory to contracting.
Dairy was the only commodity to increase in price, according to the report. Prices were down for a number of commodities, including aluminum, brass, copper, crude oil, diesel and gasoline.
Oil prices were a major theme among the respondents. A respondent in the petroleum and coal product industry noted the low prices were negatively impacting oil and gas exploration activities, while they were generally positive for the petrochemical industry. A respondent in fabricated metal products said things were slow because of the low prices, while a plastics and rubber products respondent said business was going well, as low fuel prices were keeping sales of SUVs and trucks high.