ISM Manufacturing Index
ISM Manufacturing Index: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index moved up 0.5 points month on month (m/m) to 61.2 for May 2021; this value is stronger than the forecast of 50. The new orders sub-index scored a 67.0. Overall, the ISM manufacturing index is strong, while the global economy is beginning to strengthen again following shutdowns throughout Covid-19.
The ISM manufacturing index is based on surveys of 300 purchasing managers in 17 industries. The survey is a diffusion index calculated as a percent of responses. A value of 50 is neutral, while less than 50 denotes contracting manufacturing activity and greater than 50 denotes expanding activity.
Figure 1 breaks down the composite index and sub-indexes. The backlogs sub-index was highest this month at 70.6, while the inventories sub-index was lowest at 50.8.
Sixteen of 17 manufacturing industries reported growth in May, in the following order: Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Textile Mills; Primary Metals; Computer & Electronic Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery; Chemical Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Paper Products; and Petroleum & Coal Products. The only industry reporting contraction in May is Printing & Related Support Activities.
“[A] lack of qualified candidates to fill both open office and shop positions is having a negative impact on production throughput. Challenges mounting for meeting delivery dates to customers due to material and services shortages and protracted lead times. This situation does not look to improve until possibly the fourth quarter of 2021 or beyond.” [Fabricated Metal Products]
At Gerdau, we closely monitor the ISM manufacturing index since it is an excellent barometer of the present strength, as well as a window on the likely short-run future, of U.S. manufacturing.