News Column

December Manufacturing Data Points to Growth

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Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in December for the 17th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 20th consecutive month, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The report was issued today by Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "The manufacturing sector continued its growth trend as indicated by this month's report. We saw significant recovery for much of the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010. The recovery centered on strength in autos, metals, food, machinery, computers and electronics, while those industries tied primarily to housing continue to struggle. Additionally, manufacturers that export have benefited from both global demand and the weaker dollar. December's strong readings in new orders and production, combined with positive comments from the panel, should create momentum as we go into the first quarter of 2011."

PERFORMANCE BY INDUSTRY

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 are reporting growth in December, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Plastics & Rubber Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Chemical Products. The four industries reporting contraction in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING ¦

"Company outlook looks positive into 2011. Solid revenue growth across the globe driven by strong volume in Q3 and Q4 2010." (Chemical Products)

"We continue to see strong demand for our product in Europe and Asia." (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)

"The end of the year is surprisingly busy." (Computer & Electronic Products)

"Business remains slow, while vendors clamor for increases that should have no foundation in economics." (Nonmetallic Mineral Products)

"Strong pressure still exists on raw material prices in almost every area. It is unclear as to whether they can get them." (Plastics & Rubber Products)

MANUFACTURING AT A GLANCEDECEMBER 2010

Index SeriesIndexDecember SeriesIndexNovember PercentagePointChange Direction Rate ofChange Trend(a)(Months)

PMI 57.0 56.6 +0.4 Growing Faster 17

New Orders 60.9 56.6 +4.3 Growing Faster 18

Production 60.7 55.0 +5.7 Growing Faster 19

Employment 55.7 57.5 -1.8 Growing Slower 13

Supplier Deliveries 55.9 57.2 -1.3 Slowing Slower 19

Inventories 51.8 56.7 -4.9 Growing Slower 6

Customers' Inventories 40.0 45.5 -5.5 Too Low Faster 21

Prices 72.5 69.5 +3.0 Increasing Faster 18

Backlog of Orders 47.0 46.0 +1.0 Contracting Slower 4

Exports 54.5 57.0 -2.5 Growing Slower 18

Imports 50.5 53.0 -2.5 Growing Slower 16

OVERALL ECONOMY Manufacturing Sector Growing Faster 20

Growing Faster 17 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(a) Number of months moving in current direction

COMMODITIES REPORTED UP/DOWN IN PRICE and IN SHORT SUPPLY

Commodities Up in Price

Aluminum (4); Brass; Caustic Soda (5); Chemicals (3); Copper (5); Copper Based Products (2); Corn (4); Corrugated Containers (10); Diesel; Electronic Components; Gasoline; High Density Polyethylene; Natural Gas(b); Nickel (2); PET; Plastic Resins (2); Polyester; Polyethylene (4); Resins (2); Soybean Oil (2); Stainless Steel (2); Starch; Steel (4); Steel Products; Sulfur; Tin Plate; Titanium Dioxide (2); and Wheat.

Commodities Down in Price

Natural Gas(b) (2) is the only commodity reported down in price.

Commodities in Short Supply

Cocoa Powder (4) is the only commodity reported in short supply.

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.

(b) Reported as both up and down in price.

DECEMBER 2010 MANUFACTURING INDEX SUMMARIES

PMI

Manufacturing continued to grow in December as the PMI registered 57 percent, an increase of 0.4 percentage point when compared to November's reading of 56.6 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

A PMI in excess of 42 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the PMI indicates growth for the 20th consecutive month in the overall economy, as well as expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 17th consecutive month. Ore stated, "The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through December (57.3 percent) corresponds to a 5.1 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, if the PMI for December (57 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 5 percent increase in real GDP annually."

THE LAST 12 MONTHS

Month PMI Month PMI

Dec 2010 57.0 Jun 2010 56.2

Nov 2010 56.6 May 2010 59.7

Oct 2010 56.9 Apr 2010 60.4

Sep 2010 54.4 Mar 2010 59.6

Aug 2010 56.3 Feb 2010 56.5

Jul 2010 55.5 Jan 2010 58.4

Average for 12 months -- 57.3High -- 60.4Low -- 54.4 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Orders

ISM's New Orders Index registered 60.9 percent in December, which is an increase of 4.3 percentage points when compared to the 56.6 percent reported in November. This is the 18th consecutive month of growth in the New Orders Index. A New Orders Index above 50.2 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Census Bureau's series on manufacturing orders (in constant 2000 dollars).

The 10 industries reporting growth in new orders in December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Furniture & Related Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Transportation Equipment. The four industries reporting decreases in new orders in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Chemical Products; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

New Orders %Better %Same %Worse Net Index

Dec 2010 31 47 22 +9 60.9

Nov 2010 30 45 25 +5 56.6

Oct 2010 36 39 25 +11 58.9

Sep 2010 26 52 22 +4 51.1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Production

ISM's Production Index registered 60.7 percent in December, which is an increase of 5.7 percentage points from the November reading of 55 percent. An index above 51 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Federal Reserve Board's Industrial Production figures. This is the 19th consecutive month the Production Index has registered above 50 percent.

The nine industries reporting growth in production during the month of December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Primary Metals; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; and Chemical Products. The six industries reporting a decrease in production in December ” listed in order ” are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Printing & Related Support Activities.

Production %Better %Same %Worse Net Index

Dec 2010 30 52 18 +12 60.7

Nov 2010 26 54 20 +6 55.0

Oct 2010 37 49 14 +23 62.7

Sep 2010 31 54 15 +16 56.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Employment

ISM's Employment Index registered 55.7 percent in December, which is 1.8 percentage points lower than the 57.5 percent reported in November. This is the 13th consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment. An Employment Index above 49.8 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, nine reported growth in employment in December in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Paper Products. The five industries reporting a decrease in employment during December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Furniture & Related Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Printing & Related Support Activities; and Textile Mills.

Employment %Higher %Same %Lower Net Index

Dec 2010 22 66 12 +10 55.7

Nov 2010 25 65 10 +15 57.5

Oct 2010 26 64 10 +16 57.7

Sep 2010 25 62 13 +12 56.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Supplier Deliveries

The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was slower in December as the Supplier Deliveries Index registered 55.9 percent, which is 1.3 percentage points lower than the 57.2 percent registered in November. This is the 19th consecutive month the Supplier Deliveries Index has been above 50 percent. A reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries.

The eight industries reporting slower supplier deliveries in December ” listed in order ” are: Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Chemical Products; and Transportation Equipment. The two industries reporting faster deliveries in December are: Printing & Related Support Activities; and Computer & Electronic Products.

Supplier Deliveries %Slower %Same %Faster Net Index

Dec 2010 15 78 7 +8 55.9

Nov 2010 18 77 5 +13 57.2

Oct 2010 13 77 10 +3 51.2

Sep 2010 17 76 7 +10 52.3 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Inventories

Manufacturers' inventories grew for the sixth consecutive month in December, but at a slower rate as the Inventories Index registered 51.8 percent. The index is 4.9 percentage points lower than the 56.7 percent reported in November. An Inventories Index greater than 42.6 percent, over time, is generally consistent with expansion in the Bureau of Economic Analysis' (BEA) figures on overall manufacturing inventories (in chained 2000 dollars).

The six industries reporting higher inventories in December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Textile Mills; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Chemical Products. The eight industries reporting decreases in inventories in December ” listed in order ” are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Furniture & Related Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Primary Metals; and Plastics & Rubber Products.

Inventories %Higher %Same %Lower Net Index

Dec 2010 24 52 24 0 51.8

Nov 2010 25 58 17 +8 56.7

Oct 2010 27 52 21 +6 53.9

Sep 2010 27 58 15 +12 55.6 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Customers' Inventories(c)

The ISM Customers' Inventories Index registered 40 percent in December, 5.5 percentage points lower than in November when the index registered 45.5 percent. This is the 21st consecutive month the Customers' Inventories Index has been below 50 percent, indicating that respondents believe their customers' inventories are too low at this time.

The two manufacturing industries reporting customers' inventories as being too high during December are: Textile Mills and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The 11 industries reporting customers' inventories as too low during December ” listed in order ” are: Printing & Related Support Activities; Machinery; Plastics & Rubber Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Primary Metals; Chemical Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Fabricated Metal Products.

Customers' Inventories %Reporting %TooHigh %AboutRight %TooLow Net Index

Dec 2010 67 8 64 28 -20 40.0

Nov 2010 77 13 65 22 -9 45.5

Oct 2010 72 15 58 27 -12 44.0

Sep 2010 79 13 59 28 -15 42.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prices(c)

The ISM Prices Index registered 72.5 percent in December, 3 percentage points higher than the 69.5 percent reported in November. This is the 18th consecutive month the Prices Index has registered above 50 percent. While 48 percent of respondents reported paying higher prices and 3 percent reported paying lower prices, 49 percent of supply executives reported paying the same prices as in November. A Prices Index above 49.3 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Index of Manufacturers Prices.

The 14 industries reporting paying increased prices during the month of December ” listed in order ” are: Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals; Chemical Products; Textile Mills; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Transportation Equipment; Machinery; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components. None of the 18 manufacturing industries reported paying lower prices on average during December.

Prices %Higher %Same %Lower Net Index

Dec 2010 48 49 3 +45 72.5

Nov 2010 48 43 9 +39 69.5

Oct 2010 49 44 7 +42 71.0

Sep 2010 45 51 4 +41 70.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Backlog of Orders(c)

ISM's Backlog of Orders Index registered 47 percent in December, which is 1 percentage point higher than the 46 percent reported in November. Of the 84 percent of respondents who reported their backlog of orders, 21 percent reported greater backlogs, 27 percent reported smaller backlogs, and 52 percent reported no change from November.

The six industries reporting increased order backlogs in December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Furniture & Related Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Transportation Equipment. The six industries reporting decreases in order backlogs during December ” listed in order ” are: Paper Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Chemical Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Machinery.

Backlog of Orders %Reporting %Greater %Same %Less Net Index

Dec 2010 84 21 52 27 -6 47.0

Nov 2010 89 18 56 26 -8 46.0

Oct 2010 89 23 46 31 -8 46.0

Sep 2010 86 19 55 26 -7 46.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

New Export Orders(c)

ISM's New Export Orders Index registered 54.5 percent in December, which is 2.5 percentage points lower than the 57 percent reported in November. This is the 18th consecutive month of growth in the New Export Orders Index.

The eight industries reporting growth in new export orders in December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; and Chemical Products. The four manufacturing industries reporting a decrease in export orders during December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; and Computer & Electronic Products.

New Export Orders %Reporting %Higher %Same %Lower Net Index

Dec 2010 81 21 67 12 +9 54.5

Nov 2010 81 23 68 9 +14 57.0

Oct 2010 82 30 61 9 +21 60.5

Sep 2010 79 19 71 10 +9 54.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Imports(c)

Imports of materials by manufacturers continued to expand in December as the Imports Index registered 50.5 percent, which is 2.5 percentage points lower than the 53 percent reported in November. This is the 16th consecutive month of growth in imports.

The six industries reporting growth in imports during the month of December ” listed in order ” are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Fabricated Metal Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components. The six industries reporting a decrease in imports during December ” listed in order ” are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Paper Products; Textile Mills; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

Imports %Reporting %Higher %Same %Lower Net Index

Dec 2010 82 13 75 12 +1 50.5

Nov 2010 83 18 70 12 +6 53.0

Oct 2010 83 15 73 12 +3 51.5

Sep 2010 82 22 69 9 +13 56.5 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(c) The Backlog of Orders, Prices, Customers' Inventories, Imports and New Export Orders Indexes do not meet the accepted criteria for seasonal adjustments.

Buying Policy

Average commitment lead time for Capital Expenditures increased 4 days to 105 days. Average lead time for Production Materials decreased 1 day to 52 days. Average lead time for Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) Supplies increased 6 days to 28 days.

Percent Reporting

Capital Expenditures Hand-to-Mouth 30Days 60Days 90Days 6Months 1Year+ AverageDays

Dec 2010 28 9 15 14 24 10 105

Nov 2010 33 7 13 15 22 10 101

Oct 2010 29 9 13 13 27 9 105

Sep 2010 27 7 12 20 24 10 108 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Production Materials Hand-to-Mouth 30Days 60Days 90Days 6Months 1Year+ AverageDays

Dec 2010 16 39 26 13 5 1 52

Nov 2010 17 38 27 13 3 2 53

Oct 2010 19 33 28 13 4 3 57

Sep 2010 16 44 22 13 4 1 50 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MRO Supplies Hand-to-Mouth 30Days 60Days 90Days 6Months 1Year+ AverageDays

Dec 2010 44 41 9 5 0 1 28

Nov 2010 52 37 8 2 1 0 22

Oct 2010 51 38 9 2 0 0 21

Sep 2010 49 36 13 1 1 0 24 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

About this Report

The data presented herein is obtained from a survey of manufacturing supply managers based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. ISM makes no representation, other than that stated within this release, regarding the individual company data collection procedures. Use of the data is in the public domain and should be compared to all other economic data sources when used in decision-making.

Data and Method of Presentation

The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business® is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide. Membership of the Manufacturing Business Survey Committee is diversified by NAICS, based on each industry's contribution to gross domestic product (GDP). Manufacturing Business Survey Committee responses are divided into the following NAICS code categories: Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Petroleum & Coal Products; Chemical Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; Furniture & Related Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing (products such as medical equipment and supplies, jewelry, sporting goods, toys and office supplies).

Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month. For each of the indicators measured (New Orders, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders, Imports, Production, Supplier Deliveries, Inventories, Customers' Inventories, Employment and Prices), this report shows the percentage reporting each response, the net difference between the number of responses in the positive economic direction (higher, better and slower for Supplier Deliveries) and the negative economic direction (lower, worse and faster for Supplier Deliveries), and the diffusion index. Responses are raw data and are never changed. The diffusion index includes the percent of positive responses plus one-half of those responding the same (considered positive).

The resulting single index number for those meeting the criteria for seasonal adjustments (PMI, New Orders, Production, Employment, Supplier Deliveries and Inventories) is then seasonally adjusted to allow for the effects of repetitive intra-year variations resulting primarily from normal differences in weather conditions, various institutional arrangements, and differences attributable to non-moveable holidays. All seasonal adjustment factors are supplied by the U.S. Department of Commerce and are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The PMI is a composite index based on the seasonally adjusted diffusion indexes for five of the indicators with equal weights: New Orders, Production, Employment, Supplier Deliveries and Inventories.

Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change and the scope of change. A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally declining. A PMI in excess of 42 percent, over a period of time, indicates that the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), is generally expanding; below 42 percent, it is generally declining. The distance from 50 percent or 42 percent is indicative of the strength of the expansion or decline. With some of the indicators within this report, ISM has indicated the departure point between expansion and decline of comparable government series, as determined by regression analysis.

Responses to Buying Policy reflect the percent reporting the current month's lead time, the approximate weighted number of days ahead for which commitments are made for Production Materials; Capital Expenditures; and Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) Supplies, expressed as hand-to-mouth (five days), 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months (180 days), a year or more (360 days), and the weighted average number of days. These responses are raw data, never revised, and not seasonally adjusted since there is no significant seasonal pattern.

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