The PMI Composite Index registered 50.7 percent for April 2013, according to the Institute for Supply Management. Fourteen of the 18 manufacturing industries saw growth in April.
This is the lowest index level of 2013 so far, but still indicates expansion as it remains above the separating line of 50 for the fifth straight month. The rate has been consistently in the expansion area since August 2009, although it did slip to 49.9 this past November. The current rate is 0.6 percentage points below March’s index of 51.3. The 12-month average ranging from May 2012 through April 2013 fell 0.3 percentage points from the month prior to 51.4.
The ISM new orders index rose this month to 52.3, up approximately a full percentage point month-to-month. The 12-month average fell half a percentage point to 51.9. New orders have been expanding for the past four months.
“Factories are pulling back as the need to rebuild inventories wanes, across-the-board federal budget cuts take hold and higher payroll taxes restrain consumer spending,” Bloomberg said in a recent article. “Along with leaner stockpiles, increases in measures of orders, a leading indicator of demand, and production show manufacturing may avoid further deterioration.”
The ISM employment index fell 4 percentage points to 50.2 in April. It has been shifting between the low-to-mid-50s for the past 22 months, ranging from 50.1 to 56.8. The employment index’s 12-month average fell 0.6 percentage points to 53 in April.
The inventories index of the ISM fell this month as well, down 3 percentage points from last month’s index of 49.5 to April’s index of 46.5. This is the second straight month of contraction, seeing the index remain below 50. Its 12-month average fell one-tenth of a percentage point to 48.3.