U.S. manufacturing grew in August

Economic activity in the U.S. manufacturing sector expanded in August for the third consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 51st consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

 
The report was issued today by Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

“The PMI™ registered 55.7 percent, an increase of 0.3 percentage point from July’s reading of 55.4 percent. August’s PMI reading, the highest of the year, indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector for the third consecutive month. The New Orders Index increased in August by 4.9 percentage points to 63.2 percent, and the Production Index decreased by 2.6 percentage points to 62.4 percent. The Employment Index registered 53.3 percent, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points compared to July’s reading of 54.4 percent. The Prices Index registered 54 percent, increasing 5 percentage points from July, indicating that overall raw materials prices increased when compared to last month. Comments from the panel range from slow to improving business conditions depending upon the industry.”

Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the manufacturing sector.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 are reporting growth in August in the following order: Textile Mills; Wood Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Machinery; Chemical Products; and Paper Products. The only industry reporting contraction in August is Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

The comments of the respondents included:

  • “Slight improvements in both domestic and international sales.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “Business is slowing down, not sure why — but we may end up below last year’s sales levels, whereas we had forecast 6.5 percent growth.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • “Material prices continue to be favorable; business is steady.” (Paper Products)
  • “Slowing down slightly, but still stronger than last year by 20 percent.” (Furniture & Related Products)
  • “Military slowdown affecting business.” (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “Summer seasonal businesses are doing well after a late start.” (Printing & Related Support Activities)
  • “Still not seeing the year we had expected. Cautious about the balance of 2013.” (Machinery)
  • “Tight government spending still affecting business.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “With improved weather outlook in the central states, agricultural prices are relaxing year over year.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • “We have benefitted from the Yen; seeing a 20 percent decrease in material costs from 2012 to 2013.” (Chemical Products)

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