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Manufacturing Sector Continues 18-Month Surge

Manufacturing expanded in February and the general U.S. economy grew for the 106th consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The February PMI registered at 60.8 percent, an increase of 1.7 percentage point from the January reading of 59.1 percent. The Report On Business measures its data using the Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI), which is an indicator of economic health in the manufacturing sector. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

“This indicates growth in manufacturing for the 18th consecutive month at strong levels led by continued expansion in new orders, production activity, employment and inventories, with suppliers continuing to struggle delivering to demand. The PMI-at 60.8 percent-is the highest level of expansion seen since May 2004, when it reached 61.4 percent,” said Timothy R. Fiore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

“Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders and production maintaining high levels of expansion; employment expanding at a faster rate to support production; order backlogs expanding at a faster rate; and export orders and imports continuing to grow faster in February,” Fiore continued. “Supplier deliveries continued to slow (improving) at a faster rate. Price increases occurred across most industry sectors. The Customers’ Inventories Index indicates levels remain too low. Capital expenditure lead times improved by five days while production material supplier lead times extended four days during the month of February.”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth in February, in the following order: Printing & related support activities; primary metals; machinery; computer & electronic products; petroleum & coal products; nonmetallic mineral products; plastics & rubber products; fabricated metal products; chemical products; transportation equipment; textile mills; miscellaneous manufacturing; paper products; electrical equipment, appliances & components; and food, beverage & tobacco products.

Two industries reported contraction during the period: Apparel, leather & allied products; and furniture & related products.

Commodities Up in Price

Aluminum; caustic soda; copper; corrugate; crude oil; diesel; freight; nickel; memory; packaging materials; pet bottles; phosphoric acid; pigments; polyethylene; polyurethane; PVC resin; resin based products; cold rolled steel; fabricated and machined steel parts; SBQ & alloy bars steel; scrap steel; galvanized steel; hot rolled steel; stainless steel; sulfuric acid; titanium dioxide; and vitamins.

Commodities Down in Price

None.

Commodities in Short Supply

Capacitors; freight; resistors; skilled labor; and titanium dioxide.

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