Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More on the ISM Number

Here are some key points from yesterday's ISM number:

The recovery in manufacturing strengthened in October as the PMI registered 55.7 percent, which is 3.1 percentage points higher than the 52.6 percent reported in September, and the highest reading for the index since April 2006 (56 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 41.2 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the PMI indicates growth for the sixth consecutive month in the overall economy, as well as expansion in the manufacturing sector for the third consecutive month. Ore stated, "The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through October (44.6 percent) corresponds to a 1.1 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP). However, if the PMI for October (55.7 percent) is annualized, it corresponds to a 4.5 percent increase in real GDP annually."

ISM's New Orders Index registered 58.5 percent in October, 2.3 percentage points lower than the 60.8 percent registered in September. This is the fourth consecutive month of growth in the New Orders Index. A New Orders Index above 48.8 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Census Bureau's series on manufacturing orders (in constant 2000 dollars).

ISM's Production Index registered 63.3 percent in October, which is an increase of 7.6 percentage points from the September reading of 55.7 percent. An index above 50.4 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Federal Reserve Board's Industrial Production figures. This is the fifth consecutive month the Production Index has registered above 50 percent.

ISM's Employment Index registered 53.1 percent in October, which is 6.9 percentage points higher than the 46.2 percent reported in September. This is the first month of growth in manufacturing employment following 14 consecutive months of decline. An Employment Index above 49.7 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.

Overall, this isa very good report. New Deal described it as a blow-out. While I am loathe to use hyperbole when writing about economic numbers, I would say this is an incredibly positive number across the board. And the internals are especially positive.