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Producers battle cost creep

Tempe , Ariz. – The U.S. manufacturing sector, a key driver of the nation’s economy, gained strength for a second straight month during May, driven by robust gains in new orders, production, and exports.

 

A monthly barometer of smokestack America compiled by the nation’s purchasing managers ticked up modestly to a reading of 55.0, up from 54.7 the prior month. The May increase followed a far stronger gain of 3.8 points in April, when manufacturing recovered from a drop in March.

 

“Manufacturing expanded in May as the Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to its highest level in the past 12 months,” said Norbert Ore, chair of the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Both the New Orders and Production indices indicated growth, continuing a trend that is now in its fourth month.”

 

A persistent concern is the prices manufacturers pay for the raw materials they use to make the products they sell. The Prices Index slipped by 2.0 points, but still remained high at a reading of 71.0.

 

“A major concern of respondents is the rate of price increases covering a wide variety of commodities,” said Ore.

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