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Manufacturing Production Inches Up

Manufacturing activity contracted for the 11th consecutive month in September, but production ticked up and employment began to rebound, according to the ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index®.

What’s going on: The manufacturing activity index increased for the third month in a row in September, to 49.0 from August’s 47.6.

  • While a reading below 50 still indicates contraction, September’s number is the highest in more than a year.

Digging deeper: Production rose to 52.5 from 50.0, the strongest showing since July 2022. Hiring rose to 51.2 from 48.5, a rebound after three straight months of decreases.

  • Meanwhile, the readings for new orders (up to 49.2 from 46.8) and exports (up to 47.4 from 46.5) also improved in September.
  • Prices for raw materials dropped to 43.8 from 48.4, reflecting weaknesses globally.

Lead times and inventories: Lead times decreased to 46.4 from 48.6, and inventories rose to 45.8 from 44.0, “consistent with manufacturers working through their existing stockpiles,” NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray said.

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