Production bounces back, New Orders still contracting

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the 26th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 28th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business issued Monday, Oct. 3.

Manufacturing continued its growth in September as the PMI registered 51.6 percent, an increase of 1 percentage point when compared to August’s reading of 50.6 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector at a slightly higher rate. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy generally is expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it generally is contracting.

Of the most interest to trucking companies, the Production Index registered 51.2 percent, an increase of 2.6 percentage points when compared to the August reading of 48.6 percent, indicating a return to growth after contracting in August for the first time since May 2009. However, the New Orders Index remained unchanged from August at 49.6 percent, indicating contraction for the third consecutive month, following 24 months of growth.

“Comments from respondents generally reflect concern over the sluggish economy, political and policy uncertainty in Washington, and forecasts of ongoing high unemployment that will continue to put pressure on demand for manufactured products,” says Bradley Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.