November 2019 Manufacturing ISM® Purchasing Managers’ Index at 48.1%

  • New Orders, Production, and Employment Contracting
  • Supplier Deliveries Slowing from Faster; Backlog Contracting
  • Raw Materials Inventories Contracting; Customers’ Inventories Too Low
  • Prices Decreasing; Exports and Imports Contracting
  • GDP Growing at 1.5%

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in November, and the overall economy grew for the 127th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

“Comments from the panel were consistent with the previous month, with sentiment improving compared to October,” reported Timothy R. Fiore, form ISM. “November was the fourth consecutive month of PMI® contraction, at a faster rate compared to the prior month. Demand contracted, with the New Orders Index contracting faster, the Customers’ Inventories Index remaining at ‘too low’ levels and the Backlog of Orders Index contracting for the seventh straight month (and at a faster rate). The New Export Orders Index returned to contraction territory, likely contributing to the faster contraction of the New Orders Index. Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) contracted, due primarily to lack of demand, but contributed positively (a combined 1.8-percentage point increase) to the PMI® calculation. Inputs — expressed as supplier deliveries, inventories and imports — were again lower in November, due primarily to contraction in inventories that was partially offset by supplier deliveries returning to ‘slowing.’ This resulted in a combined 0.9-percentage point decrease in the Supplier Deliveries and Inventories indexes. Imports contraction softened. Overall, inputs indicate (1) supply chains are meeting demand and (2) companies are less confident that materials received will be consumed in a reasonable time period. Prices decreased for the sixth consecutive month, at a slower rate.”

“Global trade remains the most significant cross-industry issue. Among the six big industry sectors, Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products remains the strongest, while Fabricated Metal Products is the weakest. Overall, sentiment this month is neutral regarding near-term growth,” says Fiore.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, five reported growth in November: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Paper Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Computer & Electronic Products. The 13 industries reporting contraction in November — listed in order — are: Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Textile Mills; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals; Plastics & Rubber Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Chemical Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

From comments:

“Demand has stabilized for the last half of [the fourth quarter], and production will be stable for the rest of this year.” (Machinery)

“Business level is similar to October.” (Computer & Electronic Products)

“Economic uncertainty continues. Our outlook on future business is cautious, yet positive.” (Transportation Equipment)

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