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Manufacturing Accelerates in November, ISM Says

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

Manufacturing sped up in November on improvements in new orders, production and employment, the Institute for Supply Management said today.

The Tempe, Ariz.-based group’s manufacturing index, known as the PMI, rose to 61.1 percent last month, up from 60.8 percent in October.

The index is based on a survey of executives in 18 industries. ISM said 13 industries reported expansion including machinery, miscellaneous manufacturing, fabricated metal products and transportation equipment. Only two industries reported economic contraction.

“The manufacturing economy continues improving,” Timothy R. Fiore, chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said on a conference call. “Demand remains at high levels.”

An index level above 50 percent indicates economic expansion. The PMI has been above that mark for 18 consecutive months. The index has averaged 60.8 percent for the past 12 months.

The institute’s New Orders Index rose to 61.5 percent last month, a gain from 59.8 percent in October.

“We came back on new orders, which is really good,” Fiore said. New orders help fuel increases in production in later months.

ISM said 10 industries reported increases in orders while five said there were declines. The five included transportation equipment and fabricated metal products.

The group’s Production Index reached 61.5 percent in November, up from 59.3 percent the month before. Eleven industries reported gains in output while four said production declined.

The institute’s Employment Index rose to 53.3 percent last month, up from 52 percent in October. Ten of the 18 industries reported job gains while five reported job cuts.

Manufacturers have had trouble attracting enough workers. Fiore said there were indications that retirements among manufacturers had eased in November compared with earlier in the year.

Since March 2020, manufacturers have adjusted to COVID-19 by implementing new safety procedures. The discovery of a new strain, known as the Omicron variant, has raised concerns about new disruptions.

Fiore, on the conference call, predicted manufacturing will adapt as necessary.

“Manufacturing is pretty resilient,” he said. “We’ve gotten through it so far.”

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