Manufacturing indexes that follow new orders, production and inventories tracked by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) all slid in April, contributing to the ISM’s overall decline last month to 50.8 from 51.8 in March. Readings above 50 show expansion, while those below show contraction.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector did expand overall in April for the second consecutive month, with 15 of 18 industries tracked reporting an increase in new orders and production, while the economy grew for the 83rd consecutive month, ISM said.
Still, the new orders index dropped 2.5 percentage points to 55.8; the production index fell 1.1 percentage points to 54.2; and the inventories of raw materials index dropped 1.5 percentage points to 45.5, ISM found. Manufacturing sectors that reported growth in April include wood products, printing, paper products, plastics and rubber products, primary metals, fabricated metal products, chemical products, machinery, computer and electronic products, nonmetallic mineral products and food, beverage and tobacco products. The four industries that contracted in April were petroleum and coal, transportation equipment, miscellaneous manufacturing, and furniture and related products.
Also, the employment index increased 1.1 percentage points to 49.2%, while the prices index registered 59%, a growth of 7.5 percentage points.
- Nicholas Stern, NACM editorial associate