It is clear from the most recent evaluation of the country’s purchasing managers’ indexes that the manufacturing industry is still having difficulties, which are mostly related to declining inventories.

The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) Purchasing Managers’ Index consistently showed a value of 46.7 percent for November, which is below 50 percent, which denotes a contraction in the economy.

During a media conference, Timothy Fiore, the chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, stated that the industry is experiencing the “low end” of a trough as a result of declining backlogs and low orders. It is anticipated that this state of affairs will continue, especially as businesses make plans for the next year.

Forecasting Demand in the Coming Season

Fiore gave insights into the dynamics of the industry, highlighting the need for companies to adhere to certain business objectives, which will probably result in a reloading phase because of a lack of purchase orders. Notwithstanding the difficulties, he voiced a cautious sense of optimism about the coming month’s prospects, predicting neither a notable fall nor a notable increase in growth.

Production fell by 1.9 percentage points to 48.5 percent, while new order levels witnessed a slight increase at 48.3 percent. A more notable decline was seen in the order backlog indicator, which dropped by 2.9 percentage points to 39.3 percent.

Conversely, the S&P Global PMI index showed a little better score of 49.4 percent, down from October’s 50 percent. Similar to the ISM, low stock levels and poor demand were the reasons for the decrease in this index. Both indices highlighted a widespread practice among businesses to control personnel through attrition and layoffs.

Labor Market Faces Difficulties

In terms of employment, Fiore emphasized the persistent difficulties in the manufacturing sector’s labor market, pointing out a need for a balance between businesses attempting to increase staff and those looking to decrease it. With a more critical tone, Chris Williamson, the economist at S&P Global, shared this sentiment and emphasized the factory employment trend that has been declining steadily since 2009.

In all indices, industry pricing showed some encouraging signs despite the difficult situation. As per ISM’s statement, inputs such as imports, pricing, stocks, and supplier deliveries “continued to accommodate future demand growth.”

Additionally, the supplier deliveries index improved from October to November, pointing to an improvement in delivery times. S&P reports that overall energy and material costs were lower, despite pressure from rising resin and steel prices on businesses.

Remarkably, according to ISM, three of the 17 manufacturing sectors saw growth last month: transportation equipment; nonmetallic mineral products; and food, beverage, and tobacco products.

Fiore projected a cautious forecast for the future, highlighting the glacial speed of the industry’s economic recovery. He noted that, in contrast to the usual volatility found in the manufacturing sector, the slow fall recorded in the last 13 months of the PMI implies a restricted trajectory.

Should you have any questions regarding this and how it could impact your shipments, please reach out to our team today.

Additionally, we have our weekly market updates that can provide you with relevant freight news, updates, developments across the industry, and more.


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