October is Manufacturing Month across the country and at the end of this year’s celebration was an encouraging survey report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). ISM’s report indicated that new orders to manufacturing firms across the US hit their highest level in 17 years and that national factory activity increased to a reading of 59.3 last month. That was the highest since November 2018 and followed a reading of 55.4 in September. A reading above 50 for the factory activity score indicates an expansion of manufacturing. The increase in productivity was largely attributed to shift in spending toward goods like motor vehicles and food as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
While the survey from ISM was good news for America’s manufacturers and the overall economy, (Manufacturing comprises 11.3% of the American Economy) the Federal Reserve noted last month that factory output was still 6.4% below pre-pandemic levels. And there are still more reasons to be cautious about this good news. Much of the industry growth was helped along by government stimulus and relief funding, which has now run out with no sign of when or if it will continue to be of assistance. Also the uncertainty of the election and threat of new covid restrictions or lockdowns as we move into the winter months could put a damper on the recent gains made by manufacturers. Click here to read more.