Economy

Manufacturing bounces back stronger than expected in June, ISM reading shows

Key Points
  • The ISM Manufacturing index recorded a 52.6 reading in June, better than the 49.5 that economists had expected.
  • Significant bounces were recorded in employment, production and new orders.
  • The reading indicates that a majority of industries are seeing expansion again.
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ISM manufacturing index higher than expected at 52.6

More than half of U.S. manufacturers reported better-than-expected expansion in June, the first time that has happened since the coronavirus pandemic locked down the domestic economy.

The Institute for Supply Manufacturing survey showed that 52.6% of companies said their businesses are growing. That's up from May's 43.1% and a 41.5% trough in April that came a month after shelter-in-place orders took much of the nation's productive capacity offline. productive capacity offline.

Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been looking for a 49.5% reading.

"As predicted, the growth cycle has returned after three straight months of COVID-19 disruptions," said Timothy R. Fiore, ISM chair. "Demand, consumption and inputs are reaching parity and are positioned for a demand-driven expansion cycle as we enter the second half of the year."

Only five of the 18 industries surveyed reported contraction for the month. Expansion was best among textile mills, wood products and furniture and related products.

Employment jumped to 42.1 from 32.1 in May, while production surged 24.1 points to 57.3. New orders rose 24.6 points to 56.4 and prices increased from 40.8 to 51.3.

Of the subindexes, only supplier deliveries showed a monthly decline, dropping 11.1 points to 56.9. Exports and imports posted gains though they remained below 50.

The report comes as all 50 states proceed into various phases of reopening. Some hot spots, particularly in the South and West, either have had to halt or curtail some activities in the face of a resurgence in the virus.