WAUKESHA - A report out Thursday from
Marquette University indicated manufacturing in the
Milwaukee area slid into negative territory in April,
but Waukesha County Business Alliance President Suzanne
Kelley remains optimistic about manufacturing locally.
“We’re seeing strong hiring and capital
investments by many of our manufacturing members,” she
According to the ISM Report on
Manufacturing prepared by Marquette University’s Center
for Supply Chain Management, the April index for
manufacturing in the Milwaukee area was a seasonally
adjusted 48.08, a decline of 5 points from 53.25 in
March. The index was 50.32 in February. An index level
below 50 indicates manufacturing has moved into negative
territory. According to the report, including April’s
reported numbers, the index has been above 50 for 17 of
the past 20 months.
Survey respondents said while new orders
have been coming in recently, customers have wanted
their products right away, which is not always possible
due to the products needing to be custom made and parts
need to be purchased to complete the order. Others
responded that sales have been lagging and a lack of
“viable suppliers with superior customer service,”
according to the report.
In April, new orders were growing at
57.42, compared to 54.42 in March, according to the
report. Other areas of growth included employment at
52.62 compared to 46.14 and imports at 54.17 compared to
54.55. All other areas were declining, such as
production at 45.13 in April compared to 52.72 in March;
inventories at 46.67 in April compared to 52.94 in
March; and exports at 40.91 in April contrasted with
45.83 in March.
Some other concerns raised by survey
respondents included unplanned customer order pullouts,
orders coming in strong but not having an effect on
production for several weeks and backlogs rising due to
the increase in orders.
In Waukesha County, Kelley said,
manufacturers remain upbeat.
“Manufacturing continues to be an engine
of economic growth for Waukesha County and our region,
and the majority of our manufacturers are optimistic
about the upcoming months,” she said.
A report released Thursday by the
Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce,
indicated manufacturing job growth has barely registered
during the past 12 months in the Milwaukee area and was
up 0.1 percent in March. Hours and earnings indicators
for production workers were mixed and the length of a
production worker’s workweek fell 0.2 percent to 41.1
hours, according to the MMAC.
Average hourly earnings did increase in
March by 2.9 percent to $19.38, while average weekly
earnings went up 2.7 percent to $797, according to the
report. Both measures ranked above consumer price change
nationally over the same time period.