After a late-2006 and early-2007 hiccup, thatâ€™s six months in a row of expansion, and 48 out of the past 50. Also noted last month:
Only two other periods in the 60 years of the ISM Manufacturing Index have a (better) track record â€” August 1975 through July 1979 (48 straight months) and April 1961 through December 1966 (68 of 69 months, including a streak of 51). The Reagan-Bush years had a run of 42 expansions out of 43 months from October 1985 through April 1989, which included a streak of 33. A full history of the index is here.
Given relatively high gas prices, the soft homebuilding and home improvement industries, and the ongoing struggles at US-based automakers, it’s impressive that the index continues to stay positive. May it continue.
UPDATE, August 2: So here’s how the Associated Press played it, in an unbylined report –
While the U.S. manufacturing sector grew for the sixth consecutive month in July, expansion was the slowest since March, a survey said Wednesday, indicating that the economy is plodding along at a tepid pace.
Earth to AP — Manufacturing is only 14% of “the economy.” AP would be advised to chill on its premature e-celebration until the other 86% gets reported on Friday in ISM’s Non-Manufacturing Report.