ISM Manufacturing Index: Business Conditions Contracted Slightly In January

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Includes: AIRR, FIDU, FXR, IFLY, INDF, IYJ, JHMI, RGI, SIJ, UXI, VIS, XLI
by: Doug Short

By Jill Mislinski

Thursday the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for January. The latest headline Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 59.1 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percent from a revised 59.3 the previous month. Today's headline number was above the Investing.com forecast of 58.8 percent. Revisions were made going back to February 2017.

Here is the key analysis from the report:

The report was issued today by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee: "The January PMI® registered 59.1 percent, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 59.3 percent. The New Orders Index registered 65.4 percent, a decrease of 2 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 67.4 percent. The Production Index registered 64.5 percent, a 0.7 percentage point decrease compared to the seasonally adjusted December reading of 65.2 percent. The Employment Index registered 54.2 percent, a decrease of 3.9 percentage points from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 58.1 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 59.1 percent, a 1.9 percentage point increase from the seasonally adjusted December reading of 57.2 percent. The Inventories Index registered 52.3 percent, an increase of 3.8 percentage points from the December reading of 48.5 percent. The Prices Index registered 72.7 percent in January, a 4.4 percentage point increase from the December reading of 68.3 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the 23rd consecutive month. Comments from the panel reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders and production maintaining high levels of expansion; employment expanding at a slower rate; order backlogs expanding at a faster rate; and export orders and imports continuing to grow faster in January. Supplier deliveries continued to slow (improving) at a faster rate. Price increases occurred across all industry sectors. The Customers’ Inventories Index indicates levels are still too low. Capital expenditure lead times increased 8 percent during the month of January."

Here is the table of PMI components.

The chart below shows the Manufacturing Composite series, which stretches back to 1948. The eleven recessions during this time frame are indicated along with the index value the month before the recession starts.

For a diffusion index, the latest reading of 59.1 is its seventeenth consecutive month of expansion. What sort of correlation does that have with the months before the start of recessions? Check out the red dots in the chart above.

Here is a closer look at the series beginning at the turn of the century.

Note: This commentary used the FRED USRECP series (Peak through the Period preceding the Trough) to highlight the recessions in the charts above. For example, the NBER dates the last cycle peak as December 2007, the trough as June 2009 and the duration as 18 months. The USRECP series thus flags December 2007 as the start of the recession and May 2009 as the last month of the recession, giving us the 18-month duration. The dot for the last recession in the charts above is thus for November 2007. The "Peak through the Period preceding the Trough" series is the one FRED uses in its monthly charts, as illustrated here.