manufacturing sector logged a third consecutive month of
economic growth in August, with the Institute for Supply
Managements purchasing managers index (PMI) rising 0.3
percentage points to a 2013 high of 55.7.
Fifteen of 18
manufacturing industries reported growth last month, including
primary metal producers and metal fabricators.
growth in new orders, with one fabricator saying August brought
"slight improvements" in both domestic and international sales,
while primary metal producers said new orders were flat
compared with July.
Prices increased last
month, with the index logging a 5-point gain to 54.0, as
hot-rolled and cold-rolled steel coil rose while other steel
products and stainless surcharges fell.
Metal producers and
fabricators both recorded production gains in August and saw
their order backlogs decrease. Inventories also declined for
both groups, with producers and fabricators noting
customers inventories were too low.
producers and fabricators both saw imports rise during
"August (new) orders
tallied 63.2 while production scored a 62.4. That strength is
impressive," Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist for Lexington,
Mass.-based IHS Global Insight Inc., said. However, other
economic indicators "fail to show the apparent strength that
the PMI suggests. That is suspicious."
Additionally, with "a
muddled world background it is hard to imagine that U.S.
manufacturing is enjoying its best gains in over two years,
especially since things looked totally stalled a scant two
months ago," Montgomery said. "Taking the PMI at face value may
well be a mistake."