Manufacturing improves slightly in August, but still constricted

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

Sept. 1, 2015

MILWAUKEE - The latest report on the state of manufacturing in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois revealed Monday that the industry has improved slightly compared to June and July, but remains constricted.

The Marquette-Institute of Supply Management Report on Manufacturing showed manufacturing was at a seasonally adjusted level of 47.67 in August. Any number under 50 indicates a constricting market. However, in July the level was 47.12 and was 46.55 in June.

Respondents to the survey said that busy weeks were often followed by slow ones and there is continued pessimism about the long-term outlook. Also, suppliers' delivery times remain poor, according to the respondents.

According to the survey, areas of manufacturing that are improving are inventories and backlogs of orders while new orders, production, employment, prices, exports and imports are all declining.

The survey's respondents also said orders have slowed from a few months ago in response to lack of demand, there have been critical machine breakdowns and near-term orders are volatile.

However, the positive expectations for upcoming market conditions have improved when compared to July. About 38.5 percent of respondents said they expect positive conditions, while 53.8 percent expect conditions to remain the same and 7.7 percent said they anticipate conditions worsening. In July, 28.6 percent of respondents said they felt positive conditions were on the horizon, while 57.1 percent said they expected conditions to remain the same and 14.3 percent expected conditions to worsen.