This morning’s release of the April manufacturing report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) adds to rapidly accumulating evidence that U.S. manufacturing is accelerating modestly from the 1% growth rut that it has been stuck in since 2012.
In his campaign, then candidate Trump threatened to “cancel” the Paris Agreement, in which the United States formally committed to reducing GHG emissions 26-28% by 2025. It seems the new administration is ready to make good on its word.
The March 2017 Manufacturing ISM® Report on Business®indicates another solid month for a manufacturing uptick. The ISM Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 57.2%, a 0.5 percentage point reduction from February 2017. The March data add to mounting evidence that U.S. manufacturing output performance is on track for moderate improvement up from the stagnant average growth rate of less than 1% that has plagued the factory sector since 2013.
Yet again, the labor market is the one strong player in an otherwise lackluster economic expansion. After a slowdown in the latter months of 2016, total net new job growth registered an unexpectedly strong 227,000 in January. With the current unemployment rate at 4.8%, this has provoked debates as to whether we have hit a level below which inflation and other expansion-threatening instabilities begin to appear.
There is good news for manufacturers from the Purchasing Managers’ Index. It rose by 1.5 points in the last month to 56%, continuing its five-month upward trend and indicating a likelihood of U.S. manufacturing growth. However, we should be cautious in the interpretation of this indicator because as history has shown, in uncertain times, we need a fuller set of indicators to forecast growth.