US manufacturing activity continues to grow in November
SILVER SPRING, MD. – Manufacturing activity in the United States grew at a faster pace in November as producers tried to meet demand amid continued shortages and supply delays.
The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said on Wednesday its manufacturing activity index reached 61.1 in November, just above September’s 60.8.
Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector has recorded 18 consecutive months of growth since the spring of 2020, when the pandemic hit.
The new orders, production and employment subcategories all grew at a faster rate in November, although many respondents said they were still struggling to hire, despite some modest progress over the past three months. The ISM report said 86% of jobs comments were about hiring, with 51% of respondents saying they had trouble filling positions, an increase from October.
Businesses are also struggling to maintain inventory due to high demand. The ISM Customer Inventory Index recorded a reading of 25.1 in November, the 62nd consecutive month it was considered too low. While it’s not good for stores to have sparse or empty shelves, it will likely boost future production to remedy this situation, according to the ISM report.
Prices are still high, but eased somewhat in November to a reading of 82.4 from 85.7 in October.
Thirteen of 15 manufacturing categories recorded growth last month, led by apparel and furniture. The only two that contracted were printing and primary metals.
ISM said the overall sentiment of its panel remained strongly optimistic, but “remains focused on the importance of improving supply chain issues to meet high levels of demand,” said Timothy R. Fiore, head of ISM’s manufacturing investigation committee.
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