ISM Manufacturing Index Continues Contraction in December

This article was originally written by Doug Short. From 2016-2022, it was improved upon and updated by Jill Mislinski. Starting in January 2023, AP Charts pages will be maintained by Jennifer Nash at Advisor Perspectives/VettaFi.

This morning the Institute for Supply Management published its monthly Manufacturing Report for December. The latest headline Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was 48.4, down 0.6 from the previous month and in contraction territory. Today's headline number was below the forecast of 48.5.

Here is an exerpt from the report:

Fiore continues, “The U.S. manufacturing sector again contracted, with the Manufacturing PMI® at its lowest level since the coronavirus pandemic recovery began. With Business Survey Committee panelists reporting softening new order rates over the previous seven months, the December composite index reading reflects companies’ slowing their output. Demand eased, with the (1) New Orders Index remaining in contraction territory, (2) New Export Orders Index markedly below 50 percent, (3) Customers’ Inventories Index in ‘just right’ territory, and (4) Backlog of Orders Index recovering slightly but still in strong contraction. Output/Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) was neutral, with a combined zero-percentage point impact on the Manufacturing PMI® calculation. The Employment Index moved back into expansion, and the Production Index dropped into contraction territory. Many panelists’ companies confirm that they are continuing to manage head counts through a combination of hiring freezes, employee attrition and layoffs. Inputs — defined as supplier deliveries, inventories, prices and imports — accommodated future demand growth. The Supplier Deliveries Index indicated faster deliveries, and the Inventories Index expanded at a faster rate as panelists’ companies continued to effectively manage the total supply chain inventory. The Prices Index contracted for the third consecutive month and has declined in each reading since March 2022, when it registered 87.1 percent.