Manufacturing Growth Slowed in August

The ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 51.1 points in August – down 1.6 from July’s reading. The manufacturing sector is still growing, as readings above 50 indicate expansion. Of the 18 component industries, 10 reported growth in August, down from 11 in July. Respondents noted modest-to-strong growth due to lower prices for raw materials, but also expressed concern over weakening export growth.

The employment index declined 1.5 points to 51.2 – still growing, albeit at a slower pace than in July. Six of the manufacturing industries reported growth in employment (down from 10 last month), while eight industries (led by Petroleum and Coal, and Apparel) reported a decrease in August employment.

The index for new orders fell 4.8 points, to 51.7, growing at a slower pace than the previous month.

Export orders registered 46.5 points in August, down from 48.0 in July. August marked the third consecutive month of decreases in export orders. Five industries – Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Paper Products – reported growth in exports, while 7 Industries, including Primary Metals and Furniture, reported declines. The imports index registered 51.0 points, down 0.5 from July.

The inventories index fell one point to 48.5, indicating that raw materials inventories contracted for the second consecutive month.

The prices index fell 5 points to 39.0 percent, indicating that raw materials prices have decreased for the 10th consecutive month.

Read the ISM release.