While it’s still premature to categorize the weak economic data of the last month as nothing more than a late summer lull, today’s ISM Manufacturing report provides good evidence for people who subscribe to that narrative. In September’s report, economists were expecting a headline reading of 50.4 versus last month’s reading of 49.4. The actual reading, however, came in at 51.5, which erased half of the decline from August. Even with this month’s rebound, the headline index remains well off of its summer high of 53.2.
The internals of this month’s report also looked positive. While four of the index’s components slipped into contraction territory in August, three moved back into expansion territory in September. The biggest increases this month came in New Orders (+6.0) and Backlog Orders (+4.0), while the only declines came in Supplier Deliveries (-0.6) and Export Orders (-0.5). Relative to a year ago, breadth was even stronger as the headline index and seven out of ten subcomponents all increased y/y.