ISM Manufacturing Index Higher Than Expected

Written by Sandy Williams

The ISM Manufacturing Index surprised economists with a PMI reading of 56.4 in October—the highest level in 2013.  Expectations were for the index to fall to 55 this month but instead the PMI increased 0.2 percentage points from September’s reading of 56.2.

The indexes for new orders, production, inventories and employment all indicated growth. Of the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed only four reported contraction in October:  Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Chemical Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.


Survey participants were generally optimistic about business conditions.  Questions on the impact of the government shutdown on business activity produced mixed responses. A few of the comments relevant to the steel industry were as follows:

“The government shutting down and threatening to go into a default position is causing all kinds of concerns in our markets.” (Fabricated Metal Products)

“Government spending continues to be slow in defense and military. The government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis did not affect business.” (Transportation Equipment

Seasonal demand has not decreased at the typical pace. Market showing resiliency in the residential market.” (Primary Metals)

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