May US manufacturing and exports claw their way up from April’s dismal ranking

June 1, 2020 – The May manufacturing index registered 43.1 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from April’s 41.5 percent. This figure from the latest survey from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) indicates expansion in the overall economy after April’s contraction.

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ISM’s New Export Orders Index rose to 39.5 percent in May, up 4.2 percentage points compared to the April reading of 35.3 percent. “The New Export Orders Index again contracted heavily, but at a slower rate compared to April,” said Timothy Fiore, Chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

ISM’s Imports Index fell to 41.3 percent in May, down 1.4 percentage points compared to the 42.7 percent reported for April.

According to Ernie Goss, PhD, director of Creighton University’s Economic Forecasting Group and the Jack A. MacAllister Chair in Regional Economics, ”The 9-state regional trade numbers were very negative for the month with new export orders tumbling to a record low of 15.9 from April’s 19.4. Imports fell to 36.0 from 38.7 in April.”

Creighton’s May survey of regional manufacturing supply managers reported that COVID-19 had a less significant impact on the manufacturing sector than other areas of the economy more directly tied to the consumer. This is a consumer led recession with manufacturing lagging. Nonetheless, Creighton’s survey indicates that the regional manufacturing sector is trapped in a recession.

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