In October, US Had Strongest Manufacturing Growth in 2 Years

It was the US' best month for factory activity since September 2018.

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TEMPE, AZ — Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in October, with the overall economy notching a sixth consecutive month of growth, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. The report was issued Monday by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The October Manufacturing PMI registered 59.3 percent, up 3.9 percentage points from the September reading of 55.4 percent and the highest since September 2018 (59.3 percent). This figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the sixth month in a row after a contraction in April, which ended a period of 131 consecutive months of growth.

  • The New Orders Index registered 67.9 percent, an increase of 7.7 percentage points from the September reading of 60.2 percent.
  • The Production Index registered 63 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points compared to the September reading of 61 percent.
  • The Backlog of Orders Index registered 55.7 percent, 0.5 percentage point higher compared to the September reading of 55.2 percent.
  • The Employment Index registered 53.2 percent, an increase of 3.6 percentage points from the September reading of 49.6 percent.
  • The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 60.5 percent, up 1.5 percentage points from the September figure of 59 percent.
  • The Inventories Index registered 51.9 percent; 4.8 percentage points higher than the September reading of 47.1 percent.
  • The Prices Index registered 65.5 percent, up 2.7 percentage points compared to the September reading of 62.8 percent.
  • The New Export Orders Index registered 55.7 percent; an increase of 1.4 percentage points compared to the September reading of 54.3 percent.
  • The Imports Index registered 58.1 percent, a 4.1-percentage point increase from the September reading of 54 percent.


The manufacturing economy continued its recovery in October. Survey Committee members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to operate in reconfigured factories; with every month, they are becoming more proficient at expanding output. Panel sentiment was optimistic (two positive comments for every cautious comment), a slight decrease compared to September. Demand expanded, with the (1) New Orders Index growing at strong levels, supported by the New Export Orders Index expanding moderately, (2) Customers’ Inventories Index at its lowest figure since June 2010 (35.8 percent), a level considered a positive for future production, and the (3) Backlog of Orders Index expanding at a slightly faster rate compared to the prior three months. Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) contributed positively (a combined 5.6-percentage point increase) to the Manufacturing PMI calculation, with five of the top six industries continuing to expand output strongly. The Employment Index broke into expansion territory for the first time since July 2019. Inputs — expressed as supplier deliveries, inventories and imports — continued to indicate input-driven constraints to production expansion, but at slower rates compared to September, due to a return to growth in inventory levels. Inputs improved compared to September and contributed positively to the Manufacturing PMI calculation, with a combined 6.3-percentage point increase. (The Supplier Deliveries and Inventories indexes directly factor into the Manufacturing PMI; the Imports Index does not.) Prices continued to expand at higher rates, reflecting a continued shift to seller pricing power.

Among the six biggest manufacturing industries, five (Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Transportation Equipment) registered strong growth.

Manufacturing performed well for the third straight month, with demand, consumption and inputs registering growth indicative of a normal expansion cycle. While certain industry sectors are experiencing difficulties that will continue in the near term, the overall manufacturing community continues to exceed expectations,” says Fiore.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported growth in October, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Machinery; Furniture & Related Products; Paper Products; Wood Products; Chemical Products; Primary Metals; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The two industries reporting contraction in October are: Textile Mills; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

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