At 54.3, the Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™), which is based on approximately 85% of usual monthly survey replies, rose to an eight-month high in November. This was up from a one-year low of 51.8 in October. Meanwhile, the three-month average of the PMI, which gives an indication of the underlying trend, was at 52.9, consistent with an ongoing modest improvement in manufacturing business conditions.
After having increased only marginally in October, dampened by disruptions arising from the government shutdown, manufacturing production rose at the strongest pace for nine months during November. In the past three months, the average rate of output growth similarly picked up to a solid pace.
The volume of new orders received by manufacturers rose further during November. The rate of growth was solid and broadly in line with the average for the year to date.
Both the levels of domestic and export orders increased over the month. This was the second consecutive monthly rise in new export work, with the rate of growth the fastest since December 2012, though still only moderate.
Employment in the U.S. manufacturing sector increased in November, with firms often citing higher order requirements and recent business expansions. Nonetheless, the rate of job creation was only modest and the second-weakest in the current five-month sequence of rising employment.
Input costs continued to rise in November, especially for metals. Overall, the rate of inflation was the fastest since February. Higher costs were generally passed on to clients, with firms raising their selling prices for the fifteenth month in a row. Notably, the latest increase in charges was the joint-strongest recorded by the survey in the past two years.
Reflective of higher new order volumes, the quantity of inputs bought by manufacturers increased in November. The solid rise in purchasing activity more than reversed a reduction in October. Meanwhile, input inventories were depleted further, albeit at a slower rate. Concurrently, suppliers’ lead times continued to lengthen. The latest increase in delivery times was the strongest since July 2011, suggesting a build-up of capacity constraints in the manufacturing supply chain.