April was another good month overall for U.S. manufacturing, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business issued today by the Institute for Supply Management. The manufacturing sector expanded in April for the fifth consecutive month and the overall economy grew for the 47th consecutive month, the report shows.

Although manufacturing showed growth in April, it is the slowest growth seen so far in 2013. In April, the chemical industry (Chemical Products) reported contraction again, joined by Wood Products and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

But more than numbers, the ISM survey gathered the following comments from U.S. manufacturing purchasing and supply executives nationwide to give us a pulse on some specific economic trends in today’s manufacutring world.

What U.S. Manufacturing Executives Are Saying …

  •  “Business can be described as flat at best.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  •  “Production is still strong; several new projects to support alternative energy.” (Primary Metals)
  • “Slight uptick in business, but overall continuing slowdown in defense due to budget/sequester.” (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “We have concerns about safety of doing business in South Korea. Our largest customer and part owner is in South Korea.” (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)
  • “Automotive demand remains firm.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “Business continues at a steady pace.” (Machinery)
  • “General business conditions and industrial markets remain strong.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “Seasonal pick-up underway in the office furniture industry.” (Furniture & Related Products)
  • “Market has slowed this month — weather in some parts of the country, also customers built inventory in anticipation of building increase, but the economy is still slow to pick up this spring.” (Wood Products)
  • “Overall, volume is steady or slightly declining. Q1 sales volume is lower than projected.” (Chemical Products)