Manufacturing activity in the US appears to have kicked off the year on a positive note as the ISM Manufacturing report for January saw a slight decline but came in higher than expected. While economists were forecasting a headline print of 58.6, the actual reading came in at 59.1 compared to December’s reading of 59.3. Despite the decline, it was still the fifth highest monthly print of the current expansion.
Commentary from respondents was also positive this month. Outside of the Fabricated Metals sector, manufacturers are seeing strong levels of business to start 2018.
The table below breaks down this month’s report by each of the index’s subcomponents relative to last month and last year. Over both time frames, breadth in the report was strong. On a m/m basis, just three of ten subcomponents declined (Production, New Orders, and Employment- chart below), while on y/y basis, Customer Inventories and Employment were the only decliners. On the upside, Prices Paid saw a pretty big increase this month rising to its highest level since May 2011.