Manufacturing Growth Slowed for Third Consecutive Month

The ISM Manufacturing Index fell to 50.2 points in September – down 0.9 from August’s reading. However, the manufacturing sector is still growing, as readings above 50 indicate expansion. Of the 18 component industries, 7 reported growth in September, down from 10 in August. Respondents’ sentiment was mixed, with some reporting increased business, while others reported slowing due to nervous consumers.

The employment index declined 0.7 points to 50.5 – still growing, but at a slower pace than in previous months. September marked the third consecutive month of slower growth in manufacturing employment. Eight of the eighteen industries reported employment growth, while nine, including Petroleum, Primary Metals, and Plastics and Rubber Products, reported contraction.

The index for new orders fell 1.6 points from August’s reading to 50.1 percent, growing at a slower pace than the previous month.

Export orders registered 46.5 percent in September, the same as August and the fourth consecutive month of decreases (readings below 50 indicate contraction). Five industries – Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Chemical Products; and Fabricated Metal Products – reported growth in exports, while 11 industries, including Wood Products and Petroleum Products, reported contraction.

The inventories Index registered 48.5 points, the same as in August, indicating that raw materials inventories contracted for the third consecutive month.

The price index fell 1 point to 38.0, indicating that raw materials prices have decreased for the 11th consecutive month.

Read the ISM release.