Manufacturing Sector Shows Strong Growth in April

New Orders, Production, Employment, Inventories Expanding; Deliveries Slowing; Prices Increasing

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in April for the 35th consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 54th consecutive month, as reported in the April 2006 Manufacturing ISM (Institute for Supply Management) Report On Business.

The report was issued by Norbert J. Ore, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management  Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate during April as production and employment showed significant strength. The level of activity is driving some inventory growth as the Inventory Index moved above 50%, reversing a 12-month trend. April's Index of 57.3% is the highest since November 2005. While many members indicate that business is good, they still have major concerns about the impact of higher prices for energy and industrial commodities."

A reading above 50% indicates the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates it is generally contracting.

ISM's New Orders Index registered 57.6% in April. The index is 0.8 percentage point lower than the 58.4% registered in March. April is the 36th consecutive month the index has exceeded 50%.

The Production Index was 60.4% in April, 2.9 percentage points higher than the 57.5% reported in March.  April is the 36th consecutive month of growth in the index.

ISM's Employment Index expanded for the 11th consecutive month in April. The index registered 55.8% in April compared to 52.5% in March.

The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was slower for the 34th consecutive month in April. ISM's Supplier Deliveries Index for April registered 57.7%, an increase of 4.6 percentage points when compared to March's reading of 53.1%.

Manufacturers' inventories reversed a 12-month trend in April as ISM's Inventories Index registered 51.3%, a 2.6 percentage point increase when compared to March's reading of 48.7%.

In April, the ISM Prices Index was 71.5%, indicating manufacturers are paying higher prices on average when March.


The 15 industries reporting growth in April — listed in order — are: Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Primary Metals; Transportation and Equipment; Electronic Components; Fabricated Metals; Industrial and Commercial Equipment; Wood and Wood Products; Glass, Stone and Aggregate; Apparel; Food; Printing and Publishing; Instruments and Photographic Equipment; Chemicals; Furniture; and Rubber and Plastic Products.

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