Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October for the 27th consecutive month and the overall economy grew for the 29th consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
However, growth remains slow and there continues to be concern and caution among respondents.
“The [Purchasing Managers Index] registered 50.8 percent, a decrease of 0.8 percentage point from September's reading of 51.6 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 27th consecutive month,” Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, said in a statement.
A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.
The New Orders Index increased 2.8 percentage points from September, to 52.4 percent, indicating a return to growth after three months of contraction. The Prices Index, at 41 percent, dropped 15 percentage points and is below the 50 percent mark for the first time since May 2009, when it registered 43.5 percent.
Inventories decreased to 46.7 percent, which is 5.3 percentage points below the September reading of 52 percent.
“Comments from respondents are mixed, indicating positive relief from raw materials pricing and continuing strength in a few industries, but there is also more concern and caution about growth in this uncertain economy,” according to the report.