Manufacturing Recovery Means Doing More With Less

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Manufacturing conditions in the United States continued to improve in November, according to purchasing managers indices maintained by the Institute for Supply Management and Market Economics. Both indices, which measure the health of the manufacturing industry in similar ways, hit their highest levels since January.

Each PMI is determined by conducting a survey of industry executives, and a reading above 50 indicates growth. The ISM Manufacturing Report on Business showed a 0.9 percentage point increase in its headline PMI, from 56.4 to 57.3, indicating accelerating growth. The new orders component jumped 3 points to 63.6, production climbed 2 points to 62.8, and employment grew 3.3 points to 56.4.

Purchasing and supply executives mostly had positive comments. A respondent from chemical products said that the “Outlook for the remainder of the year and into 2014 is trending positive,” and several noted that conditions were better-than-normal for this time of year. The component for order backlogs increased 2.5 points to 54.0.

On the downside, a few executives commented that sequestration and uncertain fiscal policy were creating headwinds. An executive from the computer and electronic products industry said that cutbacks in defense spending were impacting business.

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