PMI Index: Steady, but slower manufacturing growth

Index declines for third straight month, but stays above growth threshold


Manufacturing continues its slow growth in April, according to the monthly PMI Index from the Institute of Supply Management. While April’s 50.7% level was above the 50% threshold for growth, it was the third straight month of slower growth after the index peaked at 54.2% in February. Still, the index has been at or above the break-even point for all but one month in the last year, indicating a consistent if unspectacular growth rate.

Of the 18 reporting industry segments, 14 reported growth for the month.  “The PMI registered 50.7% a decrease of 0.6 percentage points from March's reading of 51.3% indicating expansion in manufacturing for the fifth consecutive month, but at the lowest rate of the year,” said Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Comments from the panel indicate a range of strong/steady growth, to flat/declining volumes, depending upon the particular industry.”

Among the comments from industry executives:

"Business can be described as flat at best." (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)

"Production is still strong; several new projects to support alternative energy." (Primary Metals)

"Slight uptick in business, but overall continuing slowdown in defense due to budget/sequester." (Computer & Electronic Products)

"Automotive demand remains firm." (Fabricated Metal Products)

"Business continues at a steady pace." (Machinery)

"General business conditions and industrial markets remain strong." (Transportation Equipment)

The PMI was above the 42.2% mark for overall economic growth for the 47th consecutive month, pointing to manufacturing’s impact on overall economic growth. “The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January through April (52.3%) corresponds to a 3.2% increase in real gross domestic product on an annualized basis,” Holcomb said. “In addition, if the PMI for April (50.7%) is annualized, it corresponds to a 2.7% increase in real GDP annually.”

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
2015 Mid-Year Report: Manufacturing's newest tool: In a digital age, digits will play a key role in the plant of the future; Ethernet certification; Mitigate harmonics; World class maintenance
2015 Lubrication Guide: Green and gold in lubrication: Environmentally friendly fluids and sealing systems offer a new perspective
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Cyber security attack: The threat is real; Hacking O&G control systems: Understanding the cyber risk; The active cyber defense cycle
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths
New industrial buildings: Greener, cleaner, leaner; New building designs for industry; Take a new look at absorption cooling; Offshored jobs start to come back

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.