The ISM manufacturing index rose to 52.8 points in May. Index readings above 50 indicate expansion in the manufacturing economy. Respondents noted that the economy is showing signs of improvement, as well as some easing of the West Coast port issues. Some industries noted that the strong dollar is hurting sales in Asia and lowering profits in Europe. Of the 18 manufacturing industries indexed, 14 reported growth, down from 15 in April.
The index for new orders increased 2.3 points to 55.8, while inventories rose 2 points. The gap between these two indices increased to 4.3 points, indicating that inventories are not keeping up with current demand.
The employment index rose to 51.7, up from 48.3 in April. Of the 18 industries, 14 reported employment growth, up from 11 in April. Only the computer and electronic products industry reported a decrease in employment.
Export orders for May registered 50.0 points, indicating no change from the previous month. The imports index rose 1 point to 55—the 28th consecutive month of growth in imports.
The prices index was 49.5, up 9 points from April, marking the seventh consecutive month of raw material prices decreasing.