U.S. Manufacturing Breaks Downward Trend in September

Today the Institute for Supply Management released its September 2011 manufacturing report for the U.S., which showed that economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the 26th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 28th consecutive month. Not only did the manufacturing sector continue to grow in September, buts its rate of growth quickened. PMI rose from 50.6 percent in August to 51.6 in September. Furthermore, the Production Index registered 51.2, indicating a return to growth after contracting in August for the first time since May of 2009

However, the New Orders Index came in at 49.6, the same as in August, showing its third month of contraction. The Backlog of Orders Index decreased 4.5 percentage points to 41.5 percent, its fourth consecutive month of contraction and its lowest level since April 2009, when it registered 40.5 percent. The rate at which prices have increased climbed for the first time in four months, adding half a percentage point to August’s figure to reach 56.0. In the four months through August, the Price Index had fallen from 85.5 to 55.5, a 30 point decline.

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Of the 18 manufacturing industries, as categorized by the Institute for Supply Management, 12 reported growth in September, with the Wood Products industry doing the best, followed by Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Chemical Products; and Computer & Electronic Products. The six industries reporting contraction in September, in order, are: Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.