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Manufacturing is the backbone of many local economies around the country, but it’s become all too common for those manufacturing jobs to be “shipped off” to other countries willing to accept cheaper wages and offer tax incentives. Fortunately, according to The Institute for Supply Management, manufacturing in America is now expanding faster than it has since August 2014. Factory managers are reporting stronger orders and production, and the entire atmosphere of manufacturing feels filled with promise.

The Institute for Supply Management

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) compiles various indexes to demonstrate manufacturing strength in the country. February’s index of manufacturing orders increased to its highest levels since 2014, while the index of production has reached its best level since March 2011! The ISM indicated that much of this growth is attributed to the recent presidential election and subsequent decision of companies to intensify their investments.

In the words of Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the ISM survey committee, “Things look good at this point. I don’t see anywhere here, or in the winds, that would suggest we can’t continue with this kind of pace going forward in the next few months.” Industries ranging from apparel and machinery to textiles and computers have all shown growth in February.

Strong Statistics

The sheer volume of statistics that the ISM can provide is dizzying. While order backlog jumped from 49.5 to 57, the largest short term growth in four years, the measure of export demand also improved to a strong 55. It’s also telling that factory inventories expanded in February, something that has not widely occurred since June 2015. Growth and progress in so many different categories is incredibly promising for the country and serve as a reminder that manufacturing is a core element of the economy.

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