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ISM Report: Manufacturing Grew in October, PMI at 50.8%, Recession Fears Diminish a Bit

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) said that in October the American manufacturing sector expanded for the 27th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 29th consecutive month. But even as new orders, production and employment are growing, inventories are contracting and supplier deliveries are slowing.

However, it's already been reported that some analysts believe this data could indicate the U.S. may avert a recession in the near future.

All eyes are on the PMI reading, registering 50.8 percent last month. (A reading above 50 percent indicates the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates it is generally contracting.) Although the PMI decreased 0.8 percentage point from September's reading of 51.6 percent, it still remains about 50 percent-a good value.

Eight of the 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in October. In order, they are: Computer & Electronic Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; and Machinery. The six industries which reported contraction, in order, are: Plastics & Rubber Products; Chemical Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Other key data in ISM's latest manufacturing "Report On Business" include:

  • ISM's Employment Index registered 53.5 percent, 0.3 percentage point lower than the 53.8 percent reported in September. This is the 25th consecutive month this index has been above 50 percent.

  • The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was slower as the Supplier Deliveries Index registered 51.3 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the 51.4 percent registered in September.

  • The Inventories Index registered 46.7 percent, 5.3 percentage points lower than the 52 percent reported in September.

  • The ISM Customers' Inventories Index registered 43.5 percent, 5.5 percentage points lower than in September when the index registered 49 percent.

  • The ISM Prices Index registered 41 percent, 15 percentage points lower than the 56 percent reported in September.

  • ISM's Backlog of Orders Index registered 47.5 percent, 6 percentage points higher than the 41.5 percent reported in September.

  • ISM's New Export Orders Index registered 50 percent, 3.5 percentage points lower than the 53.5 percent reported in September.

  • ISM's Imports Index registered 49.5 percent, 5 percentage points lower than the 54.5 percent reported in September. This is the first month of contraction in the index following 25 consecutive months of growth.


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