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posted on 01 November 2017

October 2017 Manufacturing Survey Growth Remains In Expansion

Written by Steven Hansen

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

Analyst Opinion of the ISM Manufacturing Survey

Based on these surveys and the 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 53.4 to 54.5 54.5 54.6
ISM Manufacturing 58.6 to 61.1 59.5 58.7

From the Markit PMI Manufacturing Index:

Operating conditions improve at quickest rate for nine months

  • Production and new orders both increase at steeper rates
  • Supplier performance deteriorates at quickest pace since February 2014
  • Growth in employment picks up to 28-month record
  • October survey data signalled a strong improvement in operating conditions across the US manufacturing sector. The health of the sector improved to the greatest extent since January, supported by accelerated expansions in output and new orders. Moreover, export sales increased at the quickest pace since August 2016. Meanwhile, inflationary pressures remained marked despite the rate of input price inflation softening from September. Notably, employment rose at the strongest pace since June 2015.
  • The seasonally adjusted IHS Markit final US Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI™) registered 54.6 in October, up from 53.1 in September. The latest index figure indicated a solid improvement in manufacturing operating conditions, that was the fastest seen since the start of the year.

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 October, and the overall economy grew for the 101st 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 October PMI® registered 58.7 percent, a decrease of 2.1 percentage points from the September reading of 60.8 percent. The New Orders Index registered 63.4 percent, a decrease of 1.2 percentage points from the September reading of 64.6 percent. The Production Index registered 61 percent, a 1.2 percentage point decrease compared to the September reading of 62.2 percent. The Employment Index registered 59.8 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the September reading of 60.3 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 61.4 percent, a 3 percentage point decrease from the September reading of 64.4 percent. The Inventories Index registered 48 percent, a decrease of 4.5 percentage points from the September reading of 52.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 68.5 percent in October, a 3 percentage point decrease from the September level of 71.5, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 20th consecutive month. Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders, production, employment, order backlogs and export orders all continuing to grow in October, supplier deliveries continuing to slow (improving) and inventories contracting during the period. Prices continue to remain under pressure. The Customers' Inventories Index remains at low levels."

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in October, in the following order: Paper Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Petroleum & Coal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Primary Metals. Two industries reported the same level of activity as September.

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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