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December 1, 2017 10:15 AM, EST
Manufacturing Expands at Healthy Pace on Production Surge
Leila Navidi/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS

U.S. manufacturing expanded at a robust pace in November amid a burst of production and rising orders that signal durable gains in the industry, figures from the Institute for Supply Management showed Dec. 1.

Highlights of November ISM Manufacturing Report

• Factory index eased to 58.2 (estimated 58.3) from 58.7 in Oct.; readings above 50 indicate expansion.

• Measure of production grew to 63.9, highest since March 2011, from 61; new orders rose to 64 from 63.4.

• Employment gauge was little changed at 59.7 after 59.8.

Key Takeaways

The ISM’s latest measure was above the 57.3 average for this year through October, showing the underlying pace of activity remains healthy.

Steady consumer spending, stronger investment in business equipment and improving overseas markets are underpinning the industry.

Factories are making further progress after hurricanes disrupted production schedules and delayed shipments in the immediate aftermath.

Now, delivery times are improving as the supply chain gets back to normal, which helps explain the drop in the ISM’s main manufacturing index.

The November report also showed factory inventories shrank at the fastest pace this year, a positive sign for production in coming months.

Firmer output is also boosting demand for workers. The ISM’s November gauge of employment remained near a six-year high.

Other Details

• Supplier deliveries gauge fell to 56.5 from 61.4 in October, the biggest one-month decline since January 2015.

• ISM measure of factory inventories fell to 47 from 48.

• Prices-paid index fell for a second month to 65.5 from 68.5.

• Export orders measure little changed at 56 after 56.5, while the index of backlogs held at 55.

With assistance by Chris Middleton