May 2, 2016

April 2016 ISM Manufacturing: 50.8 Percent, Down from 51.8 Percent in March

Filed under: Economy — Tom @ 10:40 pm

Conveniently just dodging contraction, I see — from the Institute for Supply Management (most paragraph breaks added by me; bolds are mine):

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the second consecutive month, while the overall economy grew for the 83rd consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The April PMI® registered 50.8 percent, a decrease of 1 percentage point from the March reading of 51.8 percent.

The New Orders Index registered 55.8 percent, a decrease of 2.5 percentage points from the March reading of 58.3 percent. The Production Index registered 54.2 percent, 1.1 percentage points lower than the March reading of 55.3 percent.

The Employment Index registered 49.2 percent, 1.1 percentage points above the March reading of 48.1 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 45.5 percent, a decrease of 1.5 percentage points from the March reading of 47 percent.

The Prices Index registered 59 percent, an increase of 7.5 percentage points from the March reading of 51.5 percent, indicating higher raw materials prices for the second consecutive month. Manufacturing registered growth in April for the second consecutive month, as 15 of our 18 industries reported an increase in new orders in April (up from 13 in March), and 15 of our 18 industries reported an increase in production in April (up from 12 in March).”

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 11 are reporting growth in April in the following order: Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. The four industries reporting contraction in April are: Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Furniture & Related Products.

Related, especially in that it indicates that ISM is overly optimistic in characterizing the current situation as expansion: “Markit’s final manufacturing PMI dipped to 50.8 during the fourth month of the year, compared to the 51.5 seen in March. That’s the weakest performance since September 2009.”

Here’s a quote from the report cited at the link:

“The April PMI data suggest there’s no end in sight to the current downturn in manufacturing activity. The survey indicates that factory output is dropping at an annualized rate of approximately 3%, and factory headcounts are being culled at a rate of around 10,000 per month,” Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, commented in a release.

If the GDP of mananufacturing, about one-eighth of the economy, is contracting at a 3 percent rate, the rest of the economy has to be growing at a 1 percent annual rate. Who believes that it really is, especially given that the separate mining and utilities sectors included in industrial production are also declining?

Positivity: Now THAT’S a tip: Twitter raises R13‚000 for RMF waitress

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 8:42 am

From Cape Town, South Africa:

30 April, 2016 12:41

A kind-hearted gesture towards the Cape Town waitress reduced to tears by a #RhodesMustFall activist has snowballed into a R13‚000 tip for the employee.

Donations received from as far afield as England‚ Canada and Germany swelled a fund for the waitress to R13‚381 by 11am on Saturday‚ according to Roman Cabanac of Johannesburg‚ one of the three men behind the Twitter campaign.

The first gift – R50 – came from Sihle Ngobese‚ the spokesman for Western Cape social development MEC Albert Fritz‚ who went to the ObzCafe after work on Friday to find the waitress.

She had been reduced to tears by Ntokozo Qwabe‚ an RMF leader at Oxford University‚ who then posted a Facebook rant about what he and fellow activist Wandile Dlamini had done.

He wrote: “We are out at ObzCafe … and the time for the bill comes. Our waitress is a white woman. I ask … what the going rate for tips/gratuity is in these shores. They look at me very reluctantly and they say ‘give me the slip‚ I’ll sort that out’. I give them the slip.

“They take a pen & slip in a note where the gratuity/tip amount is supposed to be entered. The note reads in bold: “WE WILL GIVE TIP WHEN YOU RETURN THE LAND”. The waitress comes to us with a card machine for the bill to be sorted out. She sees the note & starts shaking. She leaves us & bursts into typical white tears (like why are you crying when all we’ve done is make a kind request? lol!).”

Ngobese told TimesLive on Saturday that he found Qwabe’s post “insulting‚ racist and disgraceful” and felt the least he could do was to give the waitress the tip she had been denied. He posted a photograph on Twitter of his receipt for R50‚ with the handwritten words “And the kindness is free. F*** RMF!”

“Qwabe misses the complete irony of what he did‚” Ngobese told TimesLive. “If you want to talk about privilege‚ being a master’s graduate from Oxford and lording it over a minimum-wage waitress is the height of irony. It speaks to the disdain I have for RMF’s claims to being a voice for the downtrodden.”

The fundraising campaign snowballed after Cabanac and Jonathan Witt – who hosted Ngobese as a guest last week on their CliffCentral podcast The Renegade Report – got involved.

Cabanac told TimesLive: “It was a disgraceful act (by Qwabe) and exposes RMF for what they are. They have lost all credibility‚ and their politics and antics leave a lot to be desired.” …

Ngobese’s gesture is very noble. We need much more of this.

Go here for the rest of the story

Monday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050216)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.