Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Manufacturing Index Accelerated in December

CHICAGO An employee operates a straight knife machine to cut through denim patterns at a facility on Nov 8 2017. — Bloomberg CHICAGO An employee operates a straight knife machine to cut through denim patterns at a facility on Nov 8 2017. — Bloomberg
Russell Knight | 13 January, 2018, 01:35

The institute's Employment Index fell to 57% in December from 59.7% the month before.

USA manufacturing expanded in December at the fastest pace in three months, as gains in orders and production capped the strongest year for factories since 2004, the Institute for Supply Management said on Wednesday.

The New Orders Index increased 5.4 points to 69.4 in December, indicating growth for the fifteenth consecutive month.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in December, including machinery, transportation equipment and electrical equipment.

Tim Fiore, chair of the ISM manufacturing business survey committee, said he was optimistic about ISM's latest report on the manufacturing industry. Price increases continued at a faster rate. The Customer Inventories Index registered 42 percent in December, which is 3.5 percent lower than November.

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The seasonally adjusted final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index registered 55.1 in December, up from 53.9 in November. The latest index reading signaled a solid improvement in the health of the sector.

The ISM's headline manufacturing index rose to 59.7 from 58.2 in November, beating expectations for a drop to 58.1. Manufacturing has been expanding for the past 16 months. Two industries reported contraction during the period: wood products and textile mills. This indicates a slower pace of deliveries as production strives to keep pace with a growing number of new orders. Nothing is visible on the horizon, said Michael Montgomery, associate director of USA economics at IHS Markit. "However, the strengthening of demand for raw materials has led to supply chain delays, which have in turn been increasingly linked to higher prices as a sellers' market develops".

ISM's semi-annual forecast released last month showed 65 per cent of firms surveyed had difficulty hiring new employees and 44 per cent increased starting pay to attract new workers.

The results either met or beat a consensus estimate from analysts as the construction sector was helped by a surge in investment in private residential and nonresidential projects. Heading into 2018, it will be interesting to see if these trends continue or if production levels can pace closer to new orders.

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