Thursday, March 1, 2007

ISM Increases

From the Institute for Supply Management:

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February following a decline in January, while the overall economy grew for the 64th 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, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. "February proved to be a good month in the manufacturing sector as New Orders, Production and Employment contributed to a solid growth scenario. The Inventories Index showed significant reduction in manufacturers' inventories for the second consecutive month, and the Backlog of Orders Index is growing once again. While the prices manufacturers pay reached their highest level in five months, concern about prices is still minimal due to the small number of commodities indicated as up in price. The trend in manufacturing, as well as the overall economy, is for slow but continuing growth."

Looking at the numbers, new orders were up 4.6% and production was up 4.5%. These are good numbers and they have helped the market rally from a big drop at the opening.

However --

In February, the ISM Prices Index registered 59 percent, indicating manufacturers are paying higher prices on average when compared to January. While 32 percent of respondents reported paying higher prices and 14 percent reported paying lower prices, 54 percent of supply executives reported paying the same prices as the preceding month. A Prices Index above 47.2 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Index of Manufacturers Price

The number of executives who reported paying higher prices increased from 24% to 32%. This is a number that bears watching.