Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September for the 16th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 64th consecutive month, according to the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business issued Oct. 1 by the Institute for Supply Management.

The report is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide, including new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, inventories, prices, backlog of orders, exports and imports. “Comments from the panel reflect a generally positive business outlook, while noting some labor shortages and continuing concern over geopolitical unrest," Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the ISM Manufacturing Business Survey Committee said in a prepared statement.

The September PMI (purchasing manager’s index) registered 56.6 percent, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from August’s reading of 59 percent, indicating continued expansion in manufacturing.

The New Orders Index registered 60 percent, a decrease of 6.7 percentage points from the 66.7 percent reading in August, indicating growth in new orders for the 16th consecutive month.

The Production Index registered 64.6 percent, 0.1 percentage point above the August reading of 64.5 percent.

The Employment Index grew for the 15th consecutive month, registering 54.6 percent, a decrease of 3.5 percentage points below the August reading of 58.1 percent.

Inventories of raw materials registered 51.5 percent, a decrease of 0.5 percentage point from the August reading of 52 percent, indicating growth in inventories for the second consecutive month.

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Performance by Industry
Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 are reporting growth in September in the following order: Wood Products; Primary Metals; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Computer & Electronic Products; Paper Products; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Textile Mills.

The three industries reporting contraction in September are: Machinery; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

The next report featuring October 2014 data will be released Nov. 3 on the ISM website.