The manufacturing sector grew at a slightly higher pace in November than in October as demand for manufactured goods remained robust, according to a new survey of purchasing managers from the Institute for Supply Management on Wednesday.
The top-line index registered at 61.1 on the month, up from 60.8 in October, indicating expansion—which is reflected in any reading above 50—for the 18th straight month.
Robust demand was reflected by the new orders subindex, which rose by 1.7 percentage points to 61.5% in November, bringing the production subindex up to 61.5, or 2.2 percentage points higher than the previous month.
Although the supply side was still constrained as the subindexes for inventories recorded small declines, there were improvements in the backlog of orders, employment and imports that helped to ease some of those supply chain problems.
Some respondents acknowledged in their comments that the supply chain had slowly improved for chemical, plastic and rubber products, while significant supply chain disruptions continued to hamper growth for others, notably for computer, electronics, electrical and transportation products.
To some degree, such improvements alleviated the pressure on inflation as the subindex for prices paid dropped to 82.4 from 85.7 in October.
Overall, the sentiments in the survey were optimistic, with 10 positive growth comments for every cautious comment.
We expect the manufacturing sector to continue to expand in the coming months but with a significant risk coming from the new COVID-19 variant, omicron.