The ISM Manufacturing Index registered 41.5 points in April, a decrease of 7.6 percentage points from the March reading of 49.1 points, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Comments from respondents were strongly negative regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiments clearly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Of the eighteen manufacturing industries, only Paper Products and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products reported growth in April. The 15 industries reporting contraction in April, in order, were: Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Transportation Equipment; Textile Mills; Fabricated Metal Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Plastics & Rubber Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Petroleum & Coal Products; Wood Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Computer & Electronic Products; Primary Metals; and Chemical Products.
The Employment Index registered 27.5 percent, a decrease of 16.3 percentage points from the March reading of 43.8 percent. This is the index’s lowest reading since June 1949 (27.2 percent) and the largest one-month percentage-point decrease since numeric records began in January 1948.
The New Orders Index registered 27.1 percent in April, a decrease of 15.1 percentage points from the March reading of 42.2 percent. This is the index’s lowest reading since December 2008(25.9 percent). This percentage point decline between March and April is the largest one-month decline since April 1951 (18.7 percentage points).
The New Export Orders Index registered 35.3 percent in April, a decrease of 11.3 percentage points from the March reading of 46.6 percent. This is the index’s lowest reading since December 2008 (34.7 percent) and the largest one-month decline since October 2008 (12.9-percentage points).
The Inventories Index registered 49.7 percent in April, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from the March reading of 46.9 percent. This indicates that inventories contracted for the eleventh consecutive month. “The index contracted for an 11th straight month, but at a slower rate. Inventory contraction slowed as expected due to supply chain disruptions and lack of labor to convert material,” said Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Read the ISM release.