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Monday, November 02, 2009

ISM and Manufacturing Employment

by Calculated Risk on 11/02/2009 12:32:00 PM

There was some good news on employment in the ISM Manufacturing survey report this morning:

ISM's Employment Index registered 53.1 percent in October, which is 6.9 percentage points higher than the 46.2 percent reported in September. This is the first month of growth in manufacturing employment following 14 consecutive months of decline. An Employment Index above 49.7 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.
That calls out for a graph!

The following graph shows the ISM Manufacturing Employment Index vs. the BLS reported monthly change in manufacturing employment (as a percent of manufacturing employment).

The graph includes data from 1948 through 2009. The earlier period (1948 - 1988) is in red, and the last 20 years is in green.

ISM Manufacturing Employment Click on graph for larger image in new window.

Sure enough the ISM employment index is related to changes in BLS employment.

According to the BLS, manufacturing employment has declined by about 50 thousand per month for the last 3 months. The ISM survey suggests that manufacturing employment might have increased in October. The equation suggests an increase of about 4,000 manufacturing jobs in October (with significant variation) - not much, but that is far better than losing 50,000 jobs per month.