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posted on 02 October 2017

September 2017 Manufacturing Survey Growth Remains In Expansion

Written by Steven Hansen

The ISM Manufacturing survey improved and remained in expansion. The key internals improved and remained in expansion. The Markit PMI manufacturing Index, also released today, is in positive territory and also improved.

Analyst Opinion of the ISM Manufacturing Survey

Based on these surveys and the weak district Federal Reserve Surveys, one would expect the Fed's Industrial Production index to be modestly improved. Overall, surveys do not have a high correlation to the movement of industrial production (manufacturing) since the Great Recession.

From Bloomberg / Econoday:

Consensus Range Consensus Actual
Markit Manufacturing 52.5 to 53.0 53.0 53.1
ISM Manufacturing 57.0 to 59.0 58.0 60.8

From the Markit PMI Manufacturing Index:

Manufacturing output expands at weakest pace since June 2016

  • Production rises modestly but new order growth softens
  • Employment expands at quickest rate for nine months
  • Input prices increase at fastest pace since December 2012
  • September survey data signalled a further improvement in operating conditions across the US manufacturing sector. The overall upturn was supported by further growth in output and new orders. Strong client demand was a key factor behind the fastest rise in staffing levels so far this year. Business confidence also remained strong, despite slipping since August. On the price front, cost pressures intensified, with input prices increasing at the quickest pace since December 2012. Output charges meanwhile rose at the steepest rate for five months.
  • The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit final US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI™) registered 53.1 in September, up slightly on the flash reading of 53.0 and rising from 52.8 in August. The upturn signalled a slight pick up in growth momentum and a strong improvement in overall operating conditions across the sector.

z markit_pmi.PNG

From the Institute of Supply Management report:

Relatively deep penetration of this index below 50 has normally resulted in a recession.

The noisy Backlog of Orders declined and remains in expansion. Backlog growth should be an indicator of improving conditions; a number below 50 indicates contraction. Backlog accuracy does not have a high correlation against actual data.

Excepts from the ISM release:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September, and the overall economy grew for the 100th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee: "The September PMI® registered 60.8 percent, an increase of 2 percentage points from the August reading of 58.8 percent. The New Orders Index registered 64.6 percent, an increase of 4.3 percentage points from the August reading of 60.3 percent. The Production Index registered 62.2 percent, a 1.2 percentage point increase compared to the August reading of 61 percent. The Employment Index registered 60.3 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point from the August reading of 59.9 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 64.4 percent, a 7.3 percentage point increase from the August reading of 57.1 percent. The Inventories Index registered 52.5 percent, a decrease of 3 percentage points from the August reading of 55.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 71.5 percent in September, a 9.5 percentage point increase from the August level of 62, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 19th consecutive month. Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders, production, employment, order backlogs and export orders all growing in September; as well as, supplier deliveries slowing (improving) and inventories growing at a slower rate during the period. The Customers' Inventories Index remains at low levels."

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 17 reported growth in September, in the following order: Textile Mills; Machinery; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; Wood Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Petroleum & Coal Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Primary Metals. One industry, Furniture & Related Products, reported contraction in September compared to August.

z%20ism_mfg.png

It is interesting to note that ISM Manufacturing represents less than 10% of USA employment, and approximately 20% of the business economy. Historically, it could be argued that the production portion of ISM Manufacturing leads the Fed's Industrial Production index - however the correlation is not strong when looking at trends.

However, holding this and other survey's Econintersect follows accountable for their predictions, the following graph compares the hard data from Industrial Products manufacturing subindex (blue bar) and US Census manufacturing shipments (red bar) to the ISM Manufacturing Survey (purple bar).

Caveats on the use of ISM Manufacturing Index:

This is a survey, a quantification of opinion - not facts and data. However, as pointed out above, certain elements of this survey have good to excellent correlation to the economy. Surveys lead hard data by weeks to months, and can provide early insight into changing conditions.

Many use ISM manufacturing for guidance in estimating manufacturing employment growth. Econintersect has run correlation coefficients for the ISM manufacturing employment and the BLS manufacturing employment data series above going back to 1988, using quarterly data. The coincident correlations are actually negative, but poor (r = -0.2 to -0.4 for various time periods examined). See here for definitions.

Before 2000 the ISM employment data had a weak positive correlation to the BLS data 4 to 7 quarters later (r values above 0.6). Since 2000 the correlations for ISM manufacturing employment as a leading indicator for the BLS manufacturing employment have been between 0 and 0.3 for r (correlation coefficient). These values define correlations as none to poor.

In other words, ISM employment index is not useful in understanding manufacturing jobs growth.

The ISM employment index appears useful in predicting turning points which can lead the BLS data up to one year.



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