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ISM Reports Growth in April for Manufacturing

Manufacturing activity grew in April for the ninth consecutive month, and the overall economy expanded for the twelfth consecutive month, the Institute for Supply Management announced today in its Report On Business.

"The rate of growth as indicated by the PMI is the fastest since June 2004 when the index hit 60.5 percent," said Norbert J. Ore, chair of the institute. "Manufacturers continue to see extraordinary strength in new orders, as the New Orders Index has averaged 61.6 percent for the past 10 months. The signs for employment in the sector continue to improve as the Employment Index registered its fifth consecutive month of growth. Overall, the recovery in manufacturing continues quite strong, and the signs are positive for continued growth."

Respondents to the report ranged from a number of different industrial sectors. "We are finally seeing a turnaround," reported a source from the primary metals industry. "Demand from automotive manufacturers has continued to improve month over month," responded a fabricated metal products source. But a respondent from the electrical equipment, appliances, and components sector still saw economic contraction. "Finances continue to be tight, and we are decreasing safety stock levels to reduce inventory," the source reported.

Seventeen of the 18 manufacturing industries reported growth in April. No businesses reported contraction for the month. The PMI for April was 60.4 percent, an increase of 0.8 percentage points as compared to the previous month's 59.6 percent.

Commodities generally fared well, and only natural gas reported a price decrease. No commodities were in short supply. The institute's employment index rose in April to 58.5 percent. That is 3.4 percentage points higher than the previous month's 55.1 percent. April marked the fifth consecutive month of growth for manufacturing employment.

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