U.S. manufacturing hits high note in October

Written on Nov 02, 2017

America’s factories were on overdrive in October, according to the latest regional manufacturing indexes.

In multiple states, measures improved to multi-year highs, reflecting robust orders growth as the global economy shows some promise. The MNI Chicago Business Barometer unexpectedly advanced to 66.2, a six-year high.

In Texas, manufacturing business activity was the strongest in more than 11 years, according to recent figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The Kansas City Fed’s measure advanced to the strongest reading since March 2011, while the New York Fed’s Empire State factory index climbed to the highest since September 2014.

The Marquette-ISM report on manufacturing in the Milwaukee area improved to an almost three-year high.

The growth in these regional measures points positive results from the widely followed Institute for Supply Management’s nationwide report on October manufacturing. In September, the ISM’s factory index climbed to the highest reading since May 2004.

There are signs that production will remain firm in coming months. Some of the regional reports showed mounting order backlogs. The MNI Chicago index of backlogs reached the highest level in more than 43 years -- a report that covers both factories and non-manufacturing firms -- while the Dallas Fed’s gauge of unfilled orders was the strongest since mid-2006. In the Kansas City region, the regional Fed bank’s backlogs index was at a more than 13-year high.

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