U.S. manufacturing activity slowed modestly for the second straight month in November, but the reading still shows a favorable factory sector. On Friday, the Supply Management Institute said its manufacturing index fell to 58.2 in November, but remained solidly in growth mode. A reading above 50 indicates activity is expanding across the factory sector, while a number below 50 signals contraction.
The slowdown of the sector’s expansion was driven by a decrease in inventories and a slower rate of growth in deliveries from export order and suppliers. Employment growth cooled just slightly. On the other hand, other components of the index showed strength for manufacturing. Overall new orders are rising at faster rate, and production increased.
Recent data shows that the manufacturing sector is on a steady growth path heading into 2018. Furthermore, factories dealing with disruptions due to the impacts of the hurricane season are now back to full production.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, orders for durable goods are advancing this year at the best pace since 2014. This comes as a result of stronger investment in machinery and equipment by U.S. businesses. The recent recovery in the Energy sector has fueled manufacturing demand as well as demand for capital machinery. The consumer-price index increased 2% from a year earlier in October.
“Currently, demand is prevalent in all sectors. Therefore, the following manufacturing performance should carry forward into the new year” said Keith Knutsson of Integrale Advisors.