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Manufacturing Activity Cooled Slightly in October

A key measure of manufacturing activity stayed relatively steady in October, according to the ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index®. NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray broke it down for us.

The numbers: “Demand cooled somewhat but remained solid, according to the Institute for Supply Management,” said Moutray. “The headline index eased from 61.1 in September to 60.8 in October, with new orders (down from 66.7 to 59.8) expanding at the slowest pace since June 2020, albeit at a still-strong pace.”

Supply woes persist: “Supply chain disruptions, logistics challenges, workforce shortage and soaring costs have dampened demand. Indices for the backlog of orders (down from 64.8 to 63.6), supplier delivery times (up from 73.4 to 75.6) and customer inventories (unchanged at 31.7) were consistent with still-significant supply chain problems in the sector.”

Production stays steady: “Meanwhile, production growth (down from 59.4 to 59.3) was little changed, with exports (up from 53.4 to 54.6) improving and imports (down from 54.9 to 49.1) declining.”
Prices rise: “Prices (up from 81.2 to 85.7) accelerated in October,” said Moutray. “While price growth was less than June’s reading (92.1), which reported the fastest increase since July 1979, cost pressures remain very significant. This is consistent with other indicators, including the most recent NAM outlook survey, which cited soaring prices as the top concern.”

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