Monday, February 6, 2012

Tracking the Manufacturing Market

We’re often asked how we think the industry is doing. When we’re asked this question, we find that people typically have two things in mind; how we as a company feel the economy (generally) and the manufacturing industry (specifically) are faring. While we can gauge our own internal business trends, getting external information can sometimes be a little trickier. Here are some of the places we look, and why:

Institute for Supply Management
http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm?navItemNumber=12942
Dating back to the 40’s, this is one of the oldest reports of its kind.  They report on both manufacturing and non-manufacturing production. US only and a leading indicator.

JPMorgan Global PMI report
http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/content.cfm?ItemNumber=13133&navItemNumber=12954
A newer index similar to the above ISM report, but this one take into account several countries. Global and a leading indicator.

The Association for Manufacturing Technology
http://www.amtonline.org/
Good general source for what's going on in our industry.

US Department of Labor Weekly Jobless Claims
http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/current.htm
http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_405.htm
Reasonable yardstick for how the US economy is doing. Right now we need somewhere north of 200,000 jobs created every month to begin reducing the unemployment rate. US only and a leading or co-incident indicator.

Baltic Dry Index
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=BDIY:IND
The BDI tracks bulk shipping costs, mostly of raw materials. From an economic standpoint, the assumption is that as more material gets shipped, demand goes up, and shipping costs increase. Likewise if demand drops, costs drop. Global and a leading indicator.

Ceridian Commerce Index
http://www.ceridianindex.com/
A newer index that attempts to track how much fuel is being purchased for shipping trucks. The assumption being that people don't gas up their trucks to haul empty containers, so higher numbers suggest more economic activity. US only and a co-incident indicator.

US Department of Commerce Personal Consumption Expenditures
http://www.bea.gov/national/nipaweb/TableView.asp?SelectedTable=1&Freq=Qtr&FirstYear=2009&LastYear=2011

How much money people have, and how much spending they're doing. US only and a co-incident indicator

These are just a few places to look – there are many others. Let us know where you go for your information!