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Financial News: U.S. Manufacturing Index Pulls Back Off 14-Year High

U.S. Manufacturing Index Pulls Back Off 14-Year High In September

10/01/2018 - 10:27:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Partly reflecting supply chain issues, the Institute for Supply Management released a report on Monday showing a slightly bigger than expected slowdown in the pace of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector in the month of September.

The ISM said its purchasing managers index fell to 59.8 in September from 61.3 in August, although a reading above 50 still indicates growth in the manufacturing sector. Economists had expected the index to edge down to 60.3.

The slightly bigger than expected decrease by the index came after it reached its highest level in over fourteen years in the previous month.

A slowdown in the pace of new orders growth contributed to the pullback by the headline index, with the new orders index sliding to 61.8 in September from 65.1 in August.

"Customer demand expansion softened slightly this month but continued to expand at high levels," said Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

While the report also said the supplier deliveries index dropped to 61.1 in September from 64.5 in August, a reading above 50 still indicates slower deliveries.

"This is the 24th straight month of slowing supplier deliveries and indicates the supply chain's difficulty in keeping up with new order and production demand," Fiore said.

He added, "Lead times continue to extend, supply chain labor issues continue to restrict performance, and transportation issues are limiting supplier execution."

Meanwhile, the ISM said the production index inched up to 63.9 in September in from 63.3 in August, reaching its highest level since January.

The employment index also crept up to 58.8 in September from 58.5 in the previous month, indicating a slight acceleration in the pace of job growth in the manufacturing sector.

On the inflation front, the report said the prices index tumbled to 66.9 in September from 72.1 in August, pointing the slowest pace of price growth since last November.

"Demand remains robust, but employment resources and supply chains continue to struggle, but to a lesser degree," said Fiore.

He added, "Respondents are again overwhelmingly concerned about tariff-related activity, including how reciprocal tariffs will impact company revenue and current manufacturing locations."

The ISM is scheduled to release a separate report on activity in the service sector in the month of September on Wednesday. The non-manufacturing index is expected to edge down to 58.3 in September from 58.5 in August.

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