Manufacturing Indexes Show Continued Growth; Higher Input Costs Could Present Speedbumps

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index for January, released this week, showed that U.S. manufacturing continued its recovery last month. Meanwhile, the final January IHS Markit manufacturing survey recorded its highest reading since 2007. And the U.S. Commerce Department said this week new orders for U.S.-made goods rose more than expected in December and business spending on equipment was solid, indicating near-term strength in the manufacturing sector.

For a quick overview of key economic indicators in the U.S. manufacturing sector, check out graphs published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to examine manufacturing unemployment; average hourly earnings; average weekly hours; and real output.

It should be noted the ISM index showed that prices for raw materials and other inputs jumped to their highest levels in nearly 10 years, “strengthening expectations inflation will perk up this year,” according to Reuters. Record price increases were seen in aluminum, brass, copper, chemicals, steel, soy and corn products, petroleum-based products including plastics, transportation costs, electrical and electronic components, corrugate, wood and lumber products. 2/1/2021

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