The manufacturing sector once again contracted in April, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business.
The decline in the manufacturing sector however has moderated, says the Institute for Supply Management. After six months below the 40% mark, the PMI, driven by the New Orders Index at 47.2%, has shown improvement at 40.1%.
Still, ISM reports that "a large gap must be closed before manufacturing begins to grow once again. The Customers' Inventories Index indicates that channels are paring inventories to acceptable levels after reporting inventories as 'too high' for eight consecutive months. The prices manufacturers pay for their goods and services continue to decline; however, copper prices have bottomed and are now starting to rise."
One manufacturing industry reported growth: Miscellaneous Manufacturing.
Some respondents reported: "International customers are having trouble getting cash for new orders, even though they need/want the equipment." (Computer & Electronic Products) "Starting to see some signs of increased production and demand from some automotive customers." (Fabricated Metal Products) "Business conditions continue to be soft, but agriculture-related products are still quite bullish." (Machinery) "We are optimistic that things will change for the better in 3Q." (Chemical Products) "Starting to hear of slight upticks in orders from some sectors of our business but not all." (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)