The December '09 Metalworking Business Index (MBI), published each month by Gardner Publications and Modern Machine Shop, rose for the fifth straight month, to a level of 63.3, rising 4 full points and attaining the highest levels the MBI has shown since its inception in December, 2006.
12/09 Metalworking Business Index
The index is an aggregation of many factors that machining shops and businesses in North America report on each month, including New Orders, Production, Employment, and Future Business Expectations.
There are few negatives to find in the December MBI report. While Exports contracted and Material Prices rose - both for second consequtive months - New Orders, Production, Employment, Supplier Deliveries and Future Business Expectations all rose significantly from November numbers.
"This is the third time in the last four months that the Future Business Expectations index rose above 80. And those are the three highest readings since the MBI started," said Steven Kline, analyst at Gardner. "However, several respondents ... issued some caution about 2010. Most of (the caution is) in regard to companies delaying the completion of their budgets."
Growth in this sector - extremely hard hit by outsourcing over the past decades - is showing more than green shoots. This is full-blown growth and cause for optimism.