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Monday, June 01, 2009

ISM Manufacturing Shows Contraction in May

by Calculated Risk on 6/01/2009 10:00:00 AM

From the Institute for Supply Management: May 2009 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector failed to grow in May for the 16th consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the first time following seven months of decline, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
Manufacturing contracted in May as the PMI registered 42.8 percent, which is 2.7 percentage points higher than the 40.1 percent reported in April. This is the 16th consecutive month of contraction in the manufacturing sector. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

A PMI in excess of 41.2 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the PMI indicates growth in the overall economy following seven months of decline, and continuing contraction in the manufacturing sector.
"While employment and inventories continue to decline at a rapid rate and the sector continued to contract during the month, there are signs of improvement. May is the first month of growth in the New Orders Index since November 2007, with nine of 18 industries reporting growth. New orders are considered a leading indicator, and the index has risen rapidly after bottoming at 23.1 percent in December 2008. Also, the Customers' Inventories Index remained below 50 percent for the second consecutive month, offering encouragement that supply chains are starting to free themselves of excess inventories as nine industries report their customers' inventories as 'too low'. The prices that manufacturers pay for raw materials and services continued to decline, but at a slower rate than in April."
emphasis added
As noted, any reading below 50 shows contraction, although the pace of contraction has slowed.