TEMPE, AZ - The wood industry lead the way in the Institute for Supply Management's latest survey covering economic activity in 18 manufacturing U.S. industries. 

Wood Industry Leads in Manufacturing GrowthISM says manufacturing gained ground overall in November, as the economy proceeds through a gradual recovery. Based on surveys of purchasing managers and other sources, it marks the 28th consecutive month manufacturing has grown; and the 30th consecutive month the nation’s supply executives reported overall economic growth.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, eight reported growth in November in the following order, says PMI:

  • Wood Products
  • Textile Mills
  • Petroleum & Coal Products
  • Primary Metals
  • Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products
  • Computer & Electronic Products
  • Apparel, Leather & Allied Products
  • Paper Products

“The Purchasing Managers Index registered 52.7 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points from October’s reading of 50.8 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector," said Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

The news follows a bevy of positive reports on declining unemployment, improving consumer confidence, and rising retail and automobile sales. Workers are feeling more secure in their jobs - a sentiment likely to encourage consumer spending. A November study by employment services firm Ranstand found 71 percent believe they are unlikely to lose their job - up from 68 percent in October.

While housing is still lagging as speculators and buyers digest millions of foreclosures, a study finding housing affordability is near its highest level in more than 20 years suggests the market will ultimately work its way out.

Among purchasing managers, trepidation continues over the economy, but it is diminishing. Purchasing managers, while uneasy about the global economy, are trending toward an upbeat outlook.

"Respondents cite continuing concerns about the general economic environment, government regulations and European financial conditions, but are cautiously more optimistic about the next few months based on lower raw materials pricing and favorable levels of new orders,” says ISM's Holcomb.

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