ISM Manufacturing Index Contracts for Fourth Straight Month

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 February. The latest headline purchasing managers index (PMI) was 47.7, up 0.3 from the previous month and worse than the forecast of 48.0. This marks the fourth consecutive month in contraction territory after a 29-month period of growth dating back to June 2020.

Here is an excerpt from the latest report:

Fiore continues, “The U.S. manufacturing sector again contracted, with the Manufacturing PMI® improving marginally over the previous month. With Business Survey Committee panelists reporting softening new order rates over the previous nine months, the February composite index reading reflects companies continuing to slow outputs to better match demand for the first half of 2023 and prepare for growth in the second half of the year. Demand eased, with the (1) New Orders Index contracting at a slower rate, (2) New Export Orders Index still below 50 percent but continuing to improve, (3) Customers’ Inventories Index remaining at ‘too low’ levels, a positive for future production and (4) Backlog of Orders Index recovering for a third month but still in moderate contraction. Output/Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) was negative, with a combined 2.2-percentage point downward impact on the Manufacturing PMI® calculation. The Employment Index returned to contraction after two months of expansion, and the Production Index logged a third month in contraction territory. Panelists’ companies continue to indicate that they will not substantially reduce head counts, as sentiment is positive about the second half of the year, though slightly less so compared to January. Inputs — defined as supplier deliveries, inventories, prices and imports — continue to accommodate future demand growth. The Supplier Deliveries Index indicated faster deliveries, and the Inventories Index expanded at a slower rate as panelists’ companies manage their total supply chain inventories. The Prices Index jumped back into ‘increasing’ territory after four consecutive months below 50 percent, supporting agreement between buyers and sellers to place orders in the near term.