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The manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 21st consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
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The New Orders and Production Indexes continue to drive the PMI, as they have both exceeded 60 percent for five months. Manufacturing employment appears to have developed significant momentum, as the Employment Index readings for the first four months of 2011 are the highest readings in the last 38 years.
Inventory growth also took place in April after two months of destocking; however, the inventory restocking would appear to be necessitated by the strong performance in new orders.
The report noted that while the manufacturing sector is performing above expectations so far in 2011, manufacturers are experiencing cost pressures from commodities and other inputs. (Read: Price Increases Don't Appear to Be Going Away Anytime Soon)
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 17 are reporting growth in April, in the following order: Wood Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Transportation Equipment; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Machinery; Textile Mills; Paper Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Chemical Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Petroleum & Coal Products. Furniture & Related Products is the only industry reporting contraction in April.