Manufacturing activity continued to expand in January but at a
less-frenetic pace, according to one key measure, with a number
of manufacturers citing the severe winter weather.
The Institute for
Supply Managements purchasing managers index (PMI) landed
at 51.3 last month, down 5.2 points from 56.5 in December,
following declines in new orders, production and
cited adverse weather conditions as a factor negatively
impacting their businesses in January, while others saw
increased activity, according to Bradley Holcomb, chairman of
the ISMs Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
Of 18 manufacturing
industries tracked, both metal manufacturers and fabricators
reported growing activity.
"We continue to be
busy, working six days, 24 hours a day," one metals producer
said in the survey.
However, "poor weather
impacted outbound and inbound shipments," one fabricator
The new orders index,
while down 13.2 points from December, remained in positive
territory at 51.2 (an index above 50 indicates growth), as did
the production index, which fell 6.9 points to 54.8, but the
order backlog index dipped 3.5 points to 48.0.
Prices rose faster in
January, with that index up 7.0 points to 60.5. Hot-rolled
carbon steel, stainless steel and copper all registered
Metal producers saw
new orders rise in January, but they lagged for fabricators.
Both sectors saw order backlogs increase, going against the
trend. Producers and fabricators ramped up production, however,
and both industries continued hiring last month.
January results was abysmal weather after several mild
winters," so on balance a lower PMI "is understandable but
perhaps a shade worse than it would have been in more normal
weather," Michael Montgomery, IHS Global Insight Inc.s
chief U.S. economist, said in a statement. "Somewhere in the
middle is still decent growth, but far more sustainable growth
without bloating inventories with unsold merchandise."