ISM index rises to 60.8 in September

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The overall economy grew for the hundredth straight time, the Institute for Supply Management reported Monday.

According to the ISM's monthly report on business, the ISM index increased to 60.8 in September from 58.8 in August.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted the index would be 58.0.

An index reading below 50 signals a slowing economy, while a level above 50 suggests expansion. A reading of 50 shows the sector was unchanged in the month.

The prices paid index soared to 71.5 from 62.0. The employment index grew to 60.3 from 59.9.

The production index gained to 62.2 from 61.0, the new orders index rose to 64.6 from 60.3; the supplier deliveries index grew to 64.4 from 57.1; the export orders index increased to 57.0 from 55.5; and the imports index slipped to 54.0 from 54.5.

The inventories index dropped to 52.5 from 55.5; the customers' inventories index rose to 42.0 from 41.0; and backlog of orders increased to 58.0 from 57.5.

Respondents' comments included:

  • “Hurricanes causing supply chain and pricing issues.” (Chemical Products)
  • “Business levels continue [to be] strong; usually by now, a seasonal downturn begins.” (Machinery)
  • “Energy sector (oil and gas) continues to be strong. Price of oil appears to be beginning to stabilize.” (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “We’ve had a very good year and we are forecasting continued strong demand for our product in 2018.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • “Business is strong. However, we are concerned about price increases due to the hurricanes.” (Plastics & Rubber Products)
  • “We are closely watching the Houston events as many of our production chemicals are produced in the Gulf region. Some tightening of supply and/or price increases expected.” (Paper Products)
  • “Labor shortages continue to haunt operational capacity both at [the] local plant [level] and up and down the supply chain.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will have significant effects on input costs. Disruption in supply chain. Concerns about transportation.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • “Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma, have impacted the business (building materials). Increasing sales but also causing significant price increases on input raw materials.” (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)
  • “Lumber prices starting to drop, and log prices starting to increase. Not the best combination.” (Wood Products)
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