The US manufacturing economy expanded in September for the sixth straight month as new orders, production and employment improved, according to a study by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) published by advancedmanufacturing.org.
ISM said its PMI, which measures economic activity in manufacturing, was 51.5% last month after being 49.4% in August. A reading above 50% indicates expansion and below 50% contraction.
This was despite reports of lower vehicle sales from both General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. That included lower deliveries for high-profit large pickups, with GM’s Chevrolet Silverado falling 15.5% and Ford’s F-Series down 2.6%.
The PMI has averaged 50.3% the past 12 months, just barely in positive territory. Six of the past 12 months have been below the 50% threshold.
Despite the overall positive number for September, only seven of 18 industries reported economic growth, including non-metallic mineral products and furniture. Eleven industries reported contraction, including petroleum & coal products, transportation equipment, machinery and fabricated metal products.
Economic indicators for manufacturing have been mixed for months. Automotive and aerospace, which had been two of the strongest performers in manufacturing, have softened over the past few months.
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