US manufacturing industries report slower growth in May

01 June 2012 16:37  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The pace of US manufacturing growth slowed in May, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said on Friday, although the gradual expansion of industrial production continued for a 34th consecutive month.

The institute said its closely watched purchasing managers index (PMI) eased to 53.5% in May, down slightly from April’s PMI reading of 54.8%.

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 34 of the 35 months since the end of the recession in June 2009, including a recent peak of 59.9% in January 2011.

Since then, the index has been moderating, falling to 51.4% in July last year, edging back up to 54.1% in January this year before easing to the low-50s recently.

However, Bradley Holcomb, who leads the institute’s survey committee, said manufacturers report continuing strength in new orders amid steady and even declining raw materials prices.

Among the 18 manufacturing industries tracked by the institute, chemicals production was one of 13 sectors reporting growth in May, ISM said.

But the plastics and rubber products segment was among four industries reporting contraction for last month.

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

By: Joe Kamalick
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