Latest Manufacturing Reports Shows Dramatic Improvements
January 02, 2002
U.S. manufacturing may be poised for a comeback. Figures released Wednesday indicate increased production in December, suggesting an almost year and half long slump could soon be over.
The Institute for Supply Management’s monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index rose for the second straight month to 48.2. While the reading is below 50, which still indicates contracting activity, it is the best number since October 2000, when it registered 44.5.
The report surprised many Wall Street analysts, who saw the index dive to a 10-and-a-half-year low when it reached 39.8 in October.
The Institute also reported its New Orders Index increased from 48.8 in November to 54.9 in December, the highest reading since April 2000. Also manufacturers cleared out inventory, causing the Inventory Index to fall from 37.9 in November to 37.7 in December. The ISM Production Index registered above 50 in December, coming in at 50.6 in December after a showing of 47.1 the month before.
The news is very encouraging for trucking, which has been hit by steep drops in the manufacturing sector, the industry’s biggest customer. Many believe the backlog of unsold manufacturing inventory from 2001 is largely gone, clearing the way for increased production the first half of this year.