Economic activity in the manufacturing sector remained fairly stable in November after an October high of 59%. The November Purchasing Managers Index published by the Institute for Supply Management, registered 58.7%, down a mere 0.3 percentage point from October. However, it indicates a continued expansion in manufacturing as the number remains above the benchmark of 50.
The New Orders index for November ticked up to 66% from October's 65.8%, which is a good sign. The Production index remained flat at 64.4, down a slight 0.4% from October's ISM index. Employment was also down slightly to 54.9% in November from 55.5% in October. Supplier deliveries bumped up from 56.2% in October to 56.8% in November, showing a slight slowing in that category that could be related to the West Coast longshoreman's slowdown.
Inventories dipped 1.0% to 51.5% in November from 52.5% in October's report. Customers' Inventories hit the 50.0% benchmark, up 2.0% from October's 48.0% showing that these are "about right" noted the ISM report. Prices took a fall from 53.5% in October to 44.5% in November, most likely a result of lowered energy costs for transportation of goods.