Manufacturing Sector Growth Continues in August

The ISM Manufacturing Index registered 56.0 points in August, an increase of 1.8 percentage points from the July reading of 54.2 points, according to the Institute for Supply Management. This marks the highest level of expansion since November 2018. Comments from respondents were generally optimistic regarding the near-term outlook, though to a lesser degree compared to July.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, Primary Metals; Plastics & Rubber Products; Wood Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Paper Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components reported growth in August.

The only industry reporting contraction in August was Printing & Related Support Activities.

The Employment Index registered 46.4%, an increase of 2.1 percentage points from the July reading of 44.3%. This is the 13th consecutive month of employment contraction.

The New Orders Index registered 67.6% in August, an increase of 6.1 percentage points from July’s reading of 61.5%. This is the third month of growth for the index.

The New Export Orders Index registered 53.3%, up 2.9 percentage points from July.

The Inventories Index registered 44.4% in August, a decrease of 2.6 percentage points from the July reading of 47.0%. Inventories contracted for the second straight month after two months of growth. This is the lowest reading for the Inventories Index since January 2014 (43.9%). “Inventory levels were impacted by increases in production output and restrained by continuing supplier difficulties as noted above,” said Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

Read the ISM release.