The February ISM Report on Business for Manufacturing released today suggested growth in the overall economy for the 10th straight month. While not as robust as January’s index of 58.4, the overall February index — 56.5 — demonstrates a continuing thaw in the once frozen U.S. manufacturing sector.
Inflationary indications continue — with reports of higher prices in three categories of paper & plastic and three additional categories of steel. No categories reported shortages, but the signs are pointing away from the buyers’ market prevalent over the last 12 to 18 months.
Here’s the link to the ISM news release.
Meanwhile, a recent review of other reports on the economy generally align with the ISM study. The National Association of Manufacturer’s chief economist David Huether said, “the manufacturing sector is clearly at the beginning stages of recovery.” However, he did warn that government programs that were driving new manufacturing business were going to expire, so a self-sustaining recovery may not have started yet. Watch for better employment numbers, higher consumer spending and more business investment. Huether said those three indicators must improve before the recovery can keep itself going.
Here’s the link to the NAM review.