Measuring manufacturing growth becomes more of a challenge

Growth is so sluggish that surveys cannot tell the difference between token gains and flat, say economists

By ·

While logistics managers may note that the ISM purchasing managers’ index (PMI) has bounced back over 50 to 50.9 in June from 49.0 in May, some economists maintain that such surveys may not mean much.

“The ISM report says that manufacturing is essentially stalled,” said Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist for IHS Global Insight. “The Markit Economics version (constructed in a very similar fashion) says that there is modest growth.”

Markit Economics is an independent, global provider of some of the world’s most influential business surveys.

“From our perspective, taking all the data, that means growth is so sluggish that surveys cannot tell the difference between token gains and flat,” added Montgomery.

The manufacturing sector turned mildly negative in May, then mildly positive in June. The two-month average is virtually neutral and the three-month average a token plus — all 12-month averages are very close to June readings.

According to IHS, that means that the manufacturing operating environment is almost identical to what it has been for most of the last year, with no signs of improvement or deterioration.

Similar conditions of near stagnation exist overseas, with Europe on the underwater side of neutral but clawing back toward neutral, China just under neutral, and only Japan showing any signs of a recovery that is gaining momentum. Worldwide manufacturing is stuck in the mud.

“The manufacturing sector is recording such modest growth that surveys cannot tell the difference from stagnation,” said Montgomery.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Leveraging Florida Ports to Expand Two-Way Trade with Asia
Florida’s geography is convenient to global markets and serves as the perfect conduit for Asia-focused container trade. Florida Ports, seaport white papers, Benefits of using florida ports
Download Today!
From the April 2018 Logistics Management Magazine
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing workforce is being asked to deliver more than ever before. While our survey respondents aren’t griping about the workload, they maintain that new challenges require more resources.
LM Viewpoint: 2018 Salary Survey, delivering more than ever
Smoother execution through S&OP
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Reshaping the Restaurant Supply Chain in the Digital Age
Get an inside look at how a leading restaurant group Bloomin’ Brands Inc (BBI), coordinates its complex supply chain to deliver an exceptional restaurant experience at the lowest cost to serve.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Salary Survey: Salary growth slows, tasks soar
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing...
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...

State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...