ISM Manufacturing Index
ISM Manufacturing Index: The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index moved up 0.4 points month on month (m/m) to 59.9 for August 2021; this value is stronger than the forecast of 50. The new orders sub-index scored a 66.7. 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 20 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 production sub-index was high this month at 60.0, while the inventories sub-index was high at 54.2.
The 15 manufacturing industries reporting growth in August — in the following order — are: Furniture & Related Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Primary Metals; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Chemical Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; and Petroleum & Coal Products. The two industries reporting a decrease in August compared to July are Textile Mills; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.
“Continue to be unable to hire hourly personnel or machine operators due to few applicants. Steel and aluminum remain in short supply. New business continues to grow and come in. Unable to handle influx of orders without staff, both hourly and salaried.” [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.