Manufacturing contracted for the 11th consecutive month in September, and prices for aluminum, corrugated boxes and polypropylene were all down, according to a report from the Institute for Supply Management. Within manufacturing, production of both plastics and paper products contracted last month.
The Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index recording was 49%, up from 47.6 in August. A reading of 50% or lower indicates economic contraction. However, the pace of contraction slowed. Likewise, S&P Global’s US Manufacturing PMI was 49.8, up from 47.9 in August.
“Although the pace of production growth remains disappointingly subdued thanks to a further decline in new orders received during the month, notably from weak export markets, there are signs that the situation will improve as we head through to the end of the year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, in S&P’s PMI report. “Manufacturers’ expectations of future output have jumped to their highest for nearly one and a half years.”
Among commodities with price declines, aluminum’s has dropped for four consecutive months, and polypropylene’s has for five months. Corrugated boxes have now declined for two consecutive months.
Other outlets forecast a mixed picture of consumer spending. U.S. consumer confidence hit a four-month low in September, according to The Conference Board’s index. Yet Americans’ year-over-year spending rose by 5.8% in August, The Wall Street Journal reported. Signs of a potential recession remain.
Job openings unexpectedly rose in August, while ADP’s September jobs readout suggests private payrolls grew far less than expected. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the September jobs report on Friday and consumer price index and producer price index data next week. Many packaging producers will report third quarter earnings later in October.