The seasonally adjusted Milwaukee Report on Business gained to 57.1 in October from 55.0 in September, the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee reported Thursday.

New orders received rose to 63.5 from 58.8, production climbed to 62.3 from 59.4, employment decreased to 59.5 from 61.8, supplier deliveries dipped to 52.1 from 54.2, and backlog of orders slumped to 43.2 from 57.1.

Inventory levels gained to 47.8 from 40.9, customers' inventories rose to 42.1 from 40.0, prices soared to 63.0 from 56.8, exports grew to 60.0 from 55.3 and imports fell to 53.3 from 55.3.

The blue collar diffusion index decreased to 52.9 from 54.7, while the white collar diffusion index gained to 57.3 from 54.7.

Respondents' comments included:

Adding additional suppliers has added some lead time to our process. This is a short term issue.

Production and new orders — lower.

Lean initiatives are impacting blue collar employment.

Staff increases, planned hiring and "right-sizing" are impacting white-collar employment.

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