The ISM Manufacturing Index registered 43.1 points in May, as increase of 1.6 percentage points from the April reading of 41.5 points, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Comments from respondents were cautious regarding the near-term outlook, with sentiments clearly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Of the eighteen manufacturing industries, Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Furniture & Related Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Paper Products; and Wood Products reported growth in May.
The eleven industries reporting contraction in May, in order, were: Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Plastics & Rubber Products.
The Employment Index registered 32.1%, an increase of 4.6 percentage points from the April reading of 27.5%. This is the index’s second lowest reading since March 2009 (30.5%).
The New Orders Index registered 31.8% in May, a decrease of 4.7 percentage points from the April reading of 27.1%. This is the index’s second lowest reading since December 2008 (25.9%).
The New Export Orders Index registered 39.5% in May, up 4.2 percentage points from April. This is the index’s second lowest reading since March 2009 (39.4%).
The Inventories Index registered 50.4% in April, an increase of 0.7 percentage points from the April reading of 49.7%. Inventories expanded for the first time since May 2019, when the index registered 51.4%. “The index grew after 11 straight months of contraction. Given suppliers’ difficulty in delivering during May and the weakness in new orders and production, inventories growth is likely attributed to the companies’ desire to have inventory on hand to respond to shorter lead time customer demand,” said Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Read the ISM release.