Manufacturing Turns Positive in January

U.S. manufacturing activity expanded for the first time in six months according to the closely-watched PMI numbers published by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).  The index climbed +3.1 points to 50.9 in January, just above its 12-month rolling average of 50.8, but its first reading above 50 since July 2019 (a reading above 50.0 indicates expansion).  January’s result reportedly beat market expectations of 48.5 for the month. 
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The increase was led by Production (+9.5 points to 54.3), New Export Orders (+6.0 to 53.3) and New Orders (+4.4 to 52.0).  According to ISM, “…many respondents were positive for the first time in several months.” Eight of the 18 manufacturing sectors tracked reported growth in January, with another eight reporting contraction while the remaining two were flat.  Select quotes from survey respondents included:

  • “Business has picked up considerably.”  (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “Small signs of increased global demand…”  (Chemical Products)
  • “Continued signs of slowdown in manufacturing.”  (Transportation Equipment)
  • “Our business is starting 2020 stronger than we finished 2019…”  (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “The lack of faith in the economy seems to be why we cannot sell capital projects.”  (Machinery)

See the full report here.