NEW YORK U.S.
manufacturing growth sped up in April, recording its 33rd
consecutive monthly increase, according to the Institute for
Supply Management (ISM).
"New orders, production and
employment indexes all increased, indicating growth at faster
rates than in March," said Bradley J. Holcomb, chairman of the
organizations manufacturing business survey
The ISMs purchasing
managers index (PMI) rose to 54.8 percent in April from
53.4 percent in March; a reading above 50 percent indicates
that the U.S. manufacturing economy generally is expanding.
The PMI and the employment
subindex both recorded the highest readings since last June,
IHS Global Insight U.S. economist Michael Montgomery noted,
adding that production was at its highest level since March
last year while orders were at their strongest reading since
"April was far from a boom, but
it was another month of solid gains that had added up to 33
consecutive positives in the ISM arithmetic. The manufacturing
sector may not be growing as fast as it fell in the great
recession, but it continues to claw its way toward the light,"
Of the 18 industries surveyed,
16including metal producers and fabricatorsreported
growth in April.
While survey respondents
generally reported stable to strong demand, some aired concerns
about increasing oil prices and European stability, Holcomb
"The economy was off to a good
start through the first quarter, but the European issues keep
coming up, as well as the recent disappointing jobs report,"
one metal fabricator said. "It appears that some of the early
gains may be temporary."
One metal producer expects
strength in the market to continue. "Business conditions on a
national scale have a very positive outlook for the commercial
metals we provide. At this point, weve outperformed each
quarters goal and anticipate a strong finish," he
Commodity prices were generally
up, with alloys, aluminum products, fabricated metals and
ferroalloys all posting gains. Steel saw mixed results,
depending on the product.
Metal producers and fabricators
both reported increased orders and production in April, with
employment also growing.
Order backlogs increased for metal producers, while
fabricators saw backlogs fall for the month.