Manufacturing & The Economy
The December PMI registered 50.7%, an increase of 1.2% from the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) November reading of 49.5%, indicating expansion in manufacturing for only the third time in the last seven months. This month's PMI reading moved manufacturing off its low point for 2012 in November. The New Orders Index remained at 50.3%, the same rate as in November, indicating growth in new orders for the fourth consecutive month.
Comments from the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee this month are mixed, with some indicating a strengthening of demand and others indicating a continuing softness in demand. Additionally, many respondents express uncertainty about government regulations, taxes and global economics in general.
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, seven are reporting growth in December in the following order: Furniture & Related Products; Paper Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Wood Products; Primary Metals; Computer & Electronic Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. The nine industries reporting contraction in December — listed in order — are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Chemical Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Plastics & Rubber Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Apparel, Leather & Allied Products.