US manufacturing sector shows stronger growth - ISM

01 December 2011 17:33  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US manufacturing sector is showing stronger growth, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Thursday, easing concerns that the nation’s production industries might slip into contraction.

The institute said that its closely watched purchasing managers index (PMI) rose to 52.7% in the most recent survey of manufacturing firms, a gain of nearly two percentage points from the October reading of 50.8%.

The index had been edging downward since a recent highpoint of 55.3% in June, and at 50.8% in October the index seemed to be on the verge of slipping below the key 50% midpoint boundary between manufacturing growth and contraction.

The PMI is a composite of supplier responses to the ISM’s monthly survey of 10 different business performance measures in 18 major manufacturing sectors.

A PMI reading above 50% indicates the US manufacturing sector is expanding, while an index measure below 50% means production is contracting.

The PMI has been above 51% for 25 of the 29 months since the end of the recession in June 2009, including a recent peak of 61.4% in February this year.

Although the November PMI shows renewed strength, the index remains well below the 60%-plus range that prevailed in the first four months of this year, and the institute said that manufacturers have mixed feelings about the near-term future.

Bradley Holcomb, director of the institute’s PMI survey, said that “respondents cite continuing concerns about the general economic environment, government regulations and European financial conditions”.

However, he added, manufacturers “are cautiously optimistic about the next few months based on lower raw materials pricing and favourable levels of new orders”.  

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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