According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Report , national economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the fifth consecutive month, albeit at the slowest growth rate so far this year. Of the 18 manufacturing industries represented, 14 showed growth in April.  Similar to the manufacturing sector, ISM reported that the overall economy also grew, but at a declining rate.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped 0.6% to 50.7% from 51.3% in March and 54.2% in February, the highest PMI in the last 12 months.  Despite the decline, the above-50% reading indicates that the manufacturing sector is still growing.

The overall price index for the month was flat at 50%.  Although commodities such as aluminum and steel saw decreasing prices, others such as lumber, natural gas, and polypropylene continued their multi-month trend of increasing prices.

“General business conditions and industrial markets remain strong,” said a respondent from the transportation equipment sector.  Thus, although growth may not be as high as many would prefer, US manufacturing continues to be an enduring part of our economy.