November ISM Manufacturing Index: Continued Overall Expansion Despite Obstacles

This morning the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for November. The latest headline Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 61.0, an increase of 0.2 from 60.8 the previous month and in expansion territory. Today's headline number was at the forecast.

Here is the key analysis from the report:

The report was issued today by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee:

...Fiore continues, “The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment, with some indications of slight labor and supplier delivery improvement. All segments of the manufacturing economy are impacted by record-long raw materials and capital equipment lead times, continued shortages of critical lowest-tier materials, high commodity prices and difficulties in transporting products. Coronavirus pandemic-related global issues — worker absenteeism, short-term shutdowns due to parts shortages, difficulties in filling open positions and overseas supply chain problems — continue to limit manufacturing growth potential. However, panel sentiment remains strongly optimistic, with 10 positive growth comments for every cautious comment. Panelists remain focused on the importance of improving supply chain issues to respond to ongoing high levels of demand. Demand expanded, with the (1) New Orders Index growing, supported by continued expansion of the New Export Orders Index, (2) Customers’ Inventories Index remaining at a very low level and (3) Backlog of Orders Index staying at a very high level. Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) grew during the period, with a combined 3.5-percentage point increase to the Manufacturing PMI® calculation. The Employment Index expanded for a third month, with some indications that the ability to hire is improving, partially offset by the challenges of turnover and backfilling. Inputs — expressed as supplier deliveries, inventories, and imports — continued to constrain production expansion, but there are early signs of supplier performance improving. The Supplier Deliveries Index slowed again but at a slower rate, while the Inventories Index expanded more slowly. In November, the Prices Index expanded for the 18th consecutive month, at a slower rate, indicating continued supplier pricing power and scarcity of supply chain goods. See report