U.S. Manufacturing Backlog Grows as Strong Sales Persist

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November, and the overall economy grew for the 102nd consecutive month, according to the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

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, according to the Report On Business.

The November PMI registered 58.2 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the October reading of 58.7 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 64 percent, an increase of 0.6 percentage point from the October reading of 63.4 percent. The Production Index registered 63.9 percent, a 2.9 percentage point increase compared to the October reading of 61 percent. The Employment Index registered 59.7 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the October reading of 59.8 percent.

Comments from the professional panel of U.S. manufacturers reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders and production leading gains, employment expanding at a slower rate, order backlogs stable and expanding, and export orders all continuing to grow in November. Supplier deliveries continued to slow (improving), but at slower rates, and inventories continued to contract during the period. Price increases continued, but at a slower rate. The Customers’ Inventories Index improved but remains at low levels, according to the Report On Business.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 14 reported growth, including paper products; machinery; transportation equipment; computer & electronic products; nonmetallic mineral products; plastics & rubber products; printing & related support activities; food, beverage & tobacco products; electrical equipment, appliances & components; chemical products; furniture & related products; fabricated metal products; miscellaneous manufacturing; and primary metals.

Two industries reported contraction during the period including wood products; and petroleum & coal products.

Commodities Up in Price

No commodities were reported as down in price, according to the Report On Business. These were the commodities that were reported up in price:

Aluminum; caustic soda; copper; corrugate; nickel based metals; pallets; plastic resins; polycarbonate; polyethylene; polypropylene; resin based products; silicone; soybean oil; hot rolled steel; steel tubing; titanium dioxide; and zinc oxide.

Commodities in Short Supply

Commodities in short supply in November included capacitors; resistors; and titanium dioxide.

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