Manufacturing decline slows in US

US Economic activity in the manufacturing sector declined for the 17th consecutive month in December, while the overall US economy grew for the second consecutive month.

US Economic activity in the manufacturing sector declined for the 17th consecutive month in December, while the overall US economy grew for the second consecutive month say the nation’s purchasing and supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

The report was issued by Norbert J. Ore, CPM, chair of the US Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee and group director, strategic sourcing and procurement, Georgia-Pacific Corporation.

‘While the manufacturing sector continues to decline, the rate of decline has slowed very quickly, giving some hope that recovery may come faster than is generally found in a major downturn. In December, both new orders and production returned to a growth scenario and the trend for most of the indexes is definitely in the right direction. Two industries showing signs of life were Electronic Components and Equipment and Instruments and Photographic Equipment, as both industries recorded growth in new orders. When combined with electronic components surfacing on the short supply list we may be seeing the first indications that the tech sector recovery may have begun.’

Manufacturing employment continued to decline in December as the index fell below the breakeven point (an index of 50%) for the 15th consecutive month.

ISM’s Prices Index remained below 50% as manufacturers experienced lower prices for the 10th consecutive month. New Export Orders contracted in December for the fourth consecutive month. December’s Imports Index moved upward and registered growth for the month.

Comments from purchasing and supply executives this month reflect a cautious optimism and include ‘stable to slight improvement,’ ‘steady,’ ‘still feeling effects of 9/11,’ ‘slow rebound,’ and ‘feeling competition from imports.’