Manufacturing growth in April slowed unexpectedly, but remained positive in April, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index, an industry standard metric of the sector’s health.
The index came in at 60.7 percent, down from the 64.7 level in March and the 65 percent expected by economists. Readings above 50 indicate growth in the sector.
“Survey Committee Members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to struggle to meet increasing rates of demand due to coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts limiting availability of parts and materials,” said Timothy R. Fiore, the chair of the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.
The quick pace of economic recovery, he said, collided with continued difficulty manufacturers have faced in their supply chains and price increases linked to the pandemic.
“Recent record-long lead times, wide-scale shortages of critical basic materials, rising commodities prices and difficulties in transporting products are continuing to affect all segments of the manufacturing economy,” he said.
Manufacturers also reported labor-linked troubles, with high rates of absenteeism and difficulties filling open jobs.
Despite the challenges, the readout represented the 11th straight month of growth in the sector, with each of the 18 sectors tracked by ISM showing growth in the month.
Nationwide Chief Economist David Berson said the slowing growth was “surprising,” but remained optimistic about the future trajectory.
“We expect that manufacturing will continue to grow robustly in the months ahead, with the overall U.S. economy growing at rates not seen since at least 1984,” he said.