The ISM manufacturing index declined for the first time since December, falling to 52.6.
- There were weakness in both production and new orders, though they both remain above 50.
- Overall, a somewhat disappointing report, though it suggests further growth in U.S. manufacturing sector activity in September.
The U.S. ISM manufacturing index surprised to the downside, with a fall to 52.6 in September from 52.9 the month before. This was in stark contrast to the market consensus for a rise to 54.0 in the index. The drop ends 8 consecutive months of gains. The big movers on the month, were the production (down from 61.9 to 55.7) and new orders (down from 64.9 to 60.8) sub-indices, which both fell dramatically, though they remain about the 50-threshold. The employment sub-index also declined, falling from 46.4 to 46.2, while new export orders eased from 55.5 to 55.0. On the other hand, there was some growth in the supplier deliveries index (up from 57.1 to 58.0), while the inventories index rose from 34.4 to 42.5. Notwithstanding the drop in the headline number, the ISM reported that 13 of the 18 manufacturing industries surveyed reported growth in September (up from 11 in August), suggesting that the recovery in the U.S. manufacturing sector remains broadly-based.
On the whole, despite of the unexpected drop in the headline index, it continues to point to further growth in U.S. manufacturing sector activity in September, though the pace of growth may have eased somewhat during the month.