February 2021 Manufacturing ISM Report On Business Indicates New Orders Grew for the Ninth Consecutive Month

By Steve Clouther

Industry Trends

The Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is published monthly by the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing ISM Report(ISM), the largest supply management organization in the world, as well as one of the most respected.  Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in February, with the overall economy notching a ninth consecutive month of growth, say the nation's supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

Manufacturing grew in February, as the Manufacturing PMI registered 60.8 percent, 2.1 percentage points higher than the January reading of 58.7 percent.  This equals the highest reading since February 2018 (60.8 percent); prior to that, the PMI registered 61.4 percent in May 2004.

ISM’s New Orders Index registered 64.8 percent in February, up 3.7 percentage points compared to the 61.1 percent reported in January.  This indicates that new orders grew for the ninth consecutive month.    

The Production Index registered 63.2 percent in February, 2.5 percentage points higher than the January reading of 60.7 percent, indicating growth for the ninth consecutive month.

ISM’s Employment Index registered 54.4 percent in February, 1.8 percentage points higher than the January reading of 52.6 percent.  The Employment Index grew for the third month in a row.

The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was slower in February, as the Supplier Deliveries Index registered 72 percent.  This is 3.8 percentage points higher than the 68.2 percent reported in January.

The Inventories Index registered 49.7 percent in February, 1.1 percentage points lower than the 50.8 percent reported for January.  Inventories contracted after four consecutive months of marginal growth, following three months of contraction.

ISM’s Backlog of Orders Index registered 64 percent in February, a 4.3-percentage point increase compared to the 59.7 percent reported in January, indicating order backlogs expanded for the eighth consecutive month.  February’s reading is the second-highest since January 1993, when reporting for this subindex began, exceeded only by April 2004 (66.5 percent).

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in February, in the following order: Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Primary Metals; Paper Products; Chemical Products; Machinery; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Furniture & Related Products; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.  The two industries reporting contraction in February are: Printing & Related Support Activities; and Petroleum & Coal Products.


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