According to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business, economic activity in the manufacturing industry expanded for the 28th consecutive month in the period ending in April 2015. The overall economy also experienced a growth during the same period of time, marking the 71st consecutive month that it was able to do so.
The report, which was issued by Bradley J. Holcomb, the chair of the Institute for Supply Management, indicated that the PMI during April registered at 51.5 percent, which was roughly the same reading from 30 days prior in March. The New Orders Index, however, registered at 53.5 percent. This was an increase of 1.7 points over the reading from March, which was 51.8 percent. The Employment Index came in at 48.3 percent, which itself was a 1.7 percentage point contraction from the March reading of 50 percent. This number specifically indicates that employment levels across the industry contracted during the previous 30 days.
Out of the 18 different industries in the manufacturing sector, 15 of them reported growth during April 2015. These include but are not limited to nonmetallic mineral products, wood products, furniture and related products, food, beverage & tobacco products, machinery, textile mills, appliances, components and more. The only two industries that actually reported a contraction during the month of April were computer and electronic products and apparel, leather & allied products.
Representatives from the food, beverage & tobacco products industry indicated that low energy costs were continuing to help with the bottom line of businesses across the country. Fabricated metal products representatives indicated that the automotive industry in particular was still very strong, which is a trend that they are hopeful will continue well into the future. Transportation equipment representatives, however, indicated that not only was business holding relatively flat in North America, but it was also softening a bit when you take things into a global consideration.
Representatives from the machinery industry indicated that they were continuing to expedite shipments through Vancouver due to the port delays that are still going on in the United States.