December 2020 Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®

Manufacturing PMI® at 60.7%

New Orders, Production, and Employment Growing
Supplier Deliveries Slowing at Faster Rate; Backlog Growing
Raw Materials Inventories Growing; Customers’ Inventories Too Low
Prices Increasing; Exports and Imports Growing

(Tempe, Arizona) — Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in December, with the overall economy notching an eighth consecutive month of growth, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.

The report was issued today by Timothy R. Fiore, CPSM, C.P.M., Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee:

“The December Manufacturing PMI® registered 60.7 percent, up 3.2 percentage points from the November reading of 57.5 percent. This figure indicates expansion in the overall economy for the eighth month in a row after contracting in March, April, and May, which ended a period of 131 consecutive months of growth. The New Orders Index registered 67.9 percent, up 2.8 percentage points from the November reading of 65.1 percent. The Production Index registered 64.8 percent, an increase of 4 percentage points compared to the November reading of 60.8 percent. The Backlog of Orders Index registered 59.1 percent, 2.2 percentage points higher compared to the November reading of 56.9 percent. The Employment Index returned to expansion territory at 51.5 percent, 3.1 percentage points higher from the November reading of 48.4 percent. The Supplier Deliveries Index registered 67.6 percent, up 5.9 percentage points from the November figure of 61.7 percent. The Inventories Index registered 51.6 percent, 0.4 percentage point higher than the November reading of 51.2 percent. The Prices Index registered 77.6 percent, up 12.2 percentage points compared to the November reading of 65.4 percent. The New Export Orders Index registered 57.5 percent, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point compared to the November reading of 57.8 percent. The Imports Index registered 54.6 percent, a 0.5-percentage point decrease from the November reading of 55.1 percent.”

Fiore continues, “The manufacturing economy continued its recovery in December. Survey Committee members reported that their companies and suppliers continue to operate in reconfigured factories, but absenteeism, short-term shutdowns to sanitize facilities and difficulties in returning and hiring workers are causing strains that are limiting manufacturing growth potential. However, panel sentiment remains optimistic (three positive comments for every cautious comment), an improvement compared to November. Demand expanded, with the (1) New Orders Index growing at a strong level, supported by the New Export Orders Index expanding, (2) Customers’ Inventories Index remaining in ‘too low’ territory and at a level considered a positive for future production, and the (3) Backlog of Orders Index achieving a 2½-year high. Consumption (measured by the Production and Employment indexes) contributed positively (a combined 7.1-percentage point increase) to the Manufacturing PMI® calculation. The Production Index hit a 10-year high, as the last reading above 64.8 percent was in January 2011 (65.3 percent), with five of the top six industries reporting moderate to strong expansion. The Employment Index moved into expansion after a single month of contraction, due to the inability to attract and retain direct labor. Inputs — expressed as supplier deliveries, inventories and imports — continued to indicate input-driven constraints to production expansion, at higher rates compared to November, as indicated by minimal gains in inventory levels and difficulties in expanding imports. Supply chains continue to struggle compared to November, contributing moderately to the Manufacturing PMI® calculation. (The Supplier Deliveries and Inventories indexes directly factor into the Manufacturing PMI®; the Imports Index does not.) The Prices Index jumped dramatically in December, to a level last reached in the summer of 2018, the peak of the last manufacturing expansion cycle.

“All six of the biggest manufacturing industries — Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products — registered moderate to strong growth in December.

“Manufacturing performed well for the seventh straight month, with demand, consumption and inputs registering strong growth compared to November. Labor market difficulties at panelists’ companies and their suppliers will continue to restrict the manufacturing economy expansion until the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis ends,” says Fiore.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, 16 reported growth in December, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Furniture & Related Products; Wood Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; Paper Products; Chemical Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing. The two industries reporting contraction in December are: Printing & Related Support Activities; and Nonmetallic Mineral Products.

WHAT RESPONDENTS ARE SAYING

  • “Our company and industry are continuing to have tailwinds from the COVID-19 pandemic research support for vaccines and treatments. While our services are delayed, many customers are not cancelling outright, and business picked up for us in the last month — especially in China, where business growth is back on track.” (Computer & Electronic Products)
  • “Continued to survive COVID-19 shutdowns, customer restrictions and personnel issues (work from home and COVID-19 outbreaks) and managed to maintain slight growth over 2019.” (Chemical Products)
  • “COVID-19 outbreaks are causing supply chain issues for Tier-1 and Tier-2 suppliers. More work needs to ensure suppliers keep us in the loop with any problem in their supply chain. But end-customer demand for products is keeping production and future outlook positive.” (Transportation Equipment)
  • “COVID-19 is affecting us more strongly now than back in March. Vendors/service suppliers unable to maintain levels of service due to employee shortages. Logistic issues also hurting us due to coronavirus-related problems.” (Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products)
  • “Current business outlook is strong through the first quarter of 2021. We are anticipating 20 percent growth in sales for 2021.” (Fabricated Metal Products)
  • “Sales are now slightly above pre-COVID-19 sales.” (Machinery)
  • “Sales are now exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels, but uncertainty remains through the winter months while COVID-19 is still rampant.” (Miscellaneous Manufacturing)
  • “Business is stronger than expected, with higher demand for many products. Volatility continues due to the very persistent pandemic and associated risks.” (Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components)
  • “Suppliers are having difficulty finding and retaining labor leading to supply constraints.” (Plastics & Rubber Products)
  • “Fourth-quarter production improved more than anticipated, both against the rolling forecast and compared to typical Q4 business.” (Primary Metals)

Manufacturing at a Glance
December 2020

Index Series Index Dec Series Index Nov Percentage Point Change Direction Rate of Change Trend* (Months)
Manufacturing PMI® 60.7 57.5 +3.2 Growing Faster 7
New Orders 67.9 65.1 +2.8 Growing Faster 7
Production 64.8 60.8 +4.0 Growing Faster 7
Employment 51.5 48.4 +3.1 Growing From Contracting 1
Supplier Deliveries 67.6 61.7 +5.9 Slowing Faster 14
Inventories 51.6 51.2 +0.4 Growing Faster 3
Customers’ Inventories 37.9 36.3 +1.6 Too Low Slower 51
Prices 77.6 65.4 +12.2 Increasing Faster 7
Backlog of Orders 59.1 56.9 +2.2 Growing Faster 6
New Export Orders 57.5 57.8 -0.3 Growing Slower 6
Imports 54.6 55.1 -0.5 Growing Slower 6
OVERALL ECONOMY Growing Faster 8
Manufacturing Sector Growing Faster 7
Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® data is seasonally adjusted for the New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories indexes.
*Number of months moving in current direction.

COMMODITIES REPORTED UP/DOWN IN PRICE AND IN SHORT SUPPLY

Commodities Up in Price


Aluminum (7); Aluminum Products (3); Brass Products (2); Copper (7); Corrugate (3); Corrugate Boxes (2); Crude Oil; Electrical Components; Electronic Components; Freight (2); Isocyanates; Labor — Temporary; Linerboard; Lumber (6); Ocean Freight; Oil-Base Lubricants; Packaging Supplies; Paper Products; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — Gloves; Phosphates; Plastic Resins (4); Polyethylene Resins (3); Polyurethane; Polypropylene (6); Polyvinyl Chloride (3); Solvents; Soybean Products (3); Steel (5); Steel — High Carbon; Steel — Cold Rolled (4); Steel — Hot Rolled (4); Steel Products (4); Steel — Scrap; Steel — Stainless (2); and Wood — Pallets.

Commodities Down in Price


None.

Commodities in Short Supply


Aluminum; Aluminum Cans; Corrugate Boxes (2); Electrical Components (3); Electronic Components; Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) — Gloves (10); PPE — Masks (2); Semiconductors; Steel; Steel — Galvanized; and Steel — Hot Rolled (2).

Note: The number of consecutive months the commodity is listed is indicated after each item.

 


DECEMBER 2020 MANUFACTURING INDEX SUMMARIES


Manufacturing PMI®

Manufacturing grew in December, as the Manufacturing PMI® registered 60.7 percent, 3.2 percentage points higher than the November reading of 57.5 percent. “The Manufacturing PMI® signaled a continued rebuilding of economic activity in December, with four of five contributing subindexes in strong growth territory. All six of the biggest manufacturing industries — Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products — expanded. The New Orders and Production indexes continued to expand strongly. The Supplier Deliveries Index continued to reflect suppliers’ difficulties in maintaining delivery rates, due to factory labor-safety issues and transportation challenges. All 10 subindexes were positive for the period; a reading of ‘too low’ for Customers’ Inventories is considered a positive for future production,” says Fiore. A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally contracting.

A Manufacturing PMI® above 42.8 percent, over a period of time, generally indicates an expansion of the overall economy. Therefore, the December Manufacturing PMI® indicates the overall economy grew in December for the eighth consecutive month following contractions in March, April, and May. “The past relationship between the Manufacturing PMI® and the overall economy indicates that the Manufacturing PMI® for December (60.7 percent) corresponds to a 5.2-percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP) on an annualized basis,” says Fiore.

THE LAST 12 MONTHS


Month
Manufacturing PMI®
Dec 2020 60.7
Nov 2020 57.5
Oct 2020 59.3
Sep 2020 55.4
Aug 2020 56.0
Jul 2020 54.2
Month
Manufacturing PMI®
Jun 2020 52.6
May 2020 43.1
Apr 2020 41.5
Mar 2020 49.1
Feb 2020 50.1
Jan 2020 50.9
52.5
60.7
41.5

New Orders

ISM®’s New Orders Index registered 67.9 percent in December, an increase of 2.8 percentage points compared to the 65.1 percent reported in November. This indicates that new orders grew for the seventh consecutive month and the sixth consecutive month above 60 percent. “All six of the largest manufacturing sectors — Petroleum & Coal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products — expanded,” says Fiore. A New Orders Index above 52.5 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Census Bureau’s series on manufacturing orders (in constant 2000 dollars).

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, the 13 that reported growth in new orders in December — in the following order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Plastics & Rubber Products; Primary Metals; Chemical Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. The three industries reporting a decline in new orders in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Textile Mills; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

New Orders % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 40.3 45.1 14.6 +25.7 67.9
Nov 2020 35.9 50.1 14.0 +21.9 65.1
Oct 2020 40.3 49.2 10.5 +29.8 67.9
Sep 2020 35.2 45.9 18.9 +16.3 60.2

Production

The Production Index registered 64.8 percent in December, 4 percentage points above the November reading of 60.8 percent, indicating growth for the seventh consecutive month and the sixth straight month above 60 percent. This is the highest reading since January 2011, when the index registered 65.3 percent. “Five (Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Transportation Equipment; and Chemical Products) of the top six industries expanded moderately to strongly,” says Fiore. An index above 51.7 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Federal Reserve Board’s Industrial Production figures.

The 13 industries reporting growth in production during the month of December — listed in order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Wood Products; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Primary Metals; Computer & Electronic Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Machinery; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; and Chemical Products. The two industries reporting decreased production in December are: Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Production % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 32.3 54.6 13.1 +19.2 64.8
Nov 2020 33.7 52.0 14.3 +19.4 60.8
Oct 2020 37.4 51.0 11.7 +25.7 63.0
Sep 2020 34.3 50.9 14.8 +19.5 61.0

Employment

ISM®’s Employment Index registered 51.5 percent in December, 3.1 percentage points higher than the November reading of 48.4 percent. “Following one month of contraction, the Employment Index moved back into expansion territory. The December figure is 24 percentage points above the index’s low of 27.5 percent registered in April. Only three (Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Chemical Products) of the six big industry sectors expanded. Continued strong new-order levels and an expanding backlog indicate potential employment strength for the first quarter of 2021. For the fourth straight month, survey panelists’ comments indicate that significantly more companies are hiring or attempting to hire than those reducing labor forces,” says Fiore. An Employment Index above 50.8 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on manufacturing employment.

Of the 18 manufacturing industries, the eight industries to report employment growth in December — in the following order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Furniture & Related Products; Primary Metals; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Fabricated Metal Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; and Machinery. The five industries reporting a decrease in employment in December are: Printing & Related Support Activities; Petroleum & Coal Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; and Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components.

Employment % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 14.9 68.8 16.3 -1.4 51.5
Nov 2020 14.8 66.4 18.9 -4.1 48.4
Oct 2020 23.1 59.3 17.7 +5.4 53.2
Sep 2020 19.4 58.9 21.7 -2.3 49.6

Supplier Deliveries*

The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was slower in December, as the Supplier Deliveries Index registered 67.6 percent. This is 5.9 percentage points higher than the 61.7 percent reported in November. “Suppliers continue to struggle to deliver, with deliveries slowing at a faster rate compared to November. Transportation challenges and challenges in supplier-labor markets are still constraining production growth — and to a greater extent compared to the previous month. The Supplier Deliveries Index reflects the difficulties suppliers continue to experience due to COVID-19 impacts. Supplier labor and transportation constraints are not expected to diminish in the near-to-moderate term due to COVID-19,” says Fiore. A reading below 50 percent indicates faster deliveries, while a reading above 50 percent indicates slower deliveries.

Sixteen industries reported slower supplier deliveries in December, listed in the following order: Fabricated Metal Products; Paper Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Furniture & Related Products; Textile Mills; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Wood Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Primary Metals. No industries reported faster supplier deliveries in December

Supplier Deliveries % Slower % Same % Faster Net Index
Dec 2020 39.5 56.3 4.2 +35.3 67.6
Nov 2020 27.5 68.4 4.1 +23.4 61.7
Oct 2020 24.7 71.5 3.8 +20.9 60.5
Sep 2020 24.0 70.0 6.1 +17.9 59.0

Inventories

The Inventories Index registered 51.6 percent in December, 0.4 percentage point higher than the 51.2 percent reported for November. Inventories grew for a third consecutive month after three months of contraction. “Inventory growth stability in light of ongoing supplier constraints indicates that supply chains are meeting near-term production demand, in spite of transportation and COVID-19 headwinds,” says Fiore. An Inventories Index greater than 44.3 percent, over time, is generally consistent with expansion in the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) figures on overall manufacturing inventories (in chained 2000 dollars).

The eight industries reporting higher inventories in December — listed in order — are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Textile Mills; Paper Products; Machinery; Chemical Products; Fabricated Metal Products; and Transportation Equipment. The seven industries reporting a decrease in inventories in December — listed in order — are: Printing & Related Support Activities; Primary Metals; Furniture & Related Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Computer & Electronic Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

Inventories % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 22.1 53.5 24.4 -2.3 51.6
Nov 2020 18.1 62.4 19.4 -1.3 51.2
Oct 2020 21.3 59.9 18.8 +2.5 51.9
Sep 2020 16.9 61.6 21.5 -4.6 47.1

Customers’ Inventories*

ISM®’s Customers’ Inventories Index registered 37.9 percent in December, 1.6 percentage points higher than the 36.3 percent reported for November, indicating that customers’ inventory levels were considered too low. “Customers’ inventories are too low for the 51st consecutive month, a positive for future production growth. For five months in a row, the index has been at its lowest levels in more than a decade (a reading of 35.8 percent in June 2010). However, the drop into ‘too low’ territory slowed in December,” says Fiore.

Of the 18 industries, the only one reporting higher customers’ inventories in December is Printing & Related Support Activities. The 14 industries reporting customers’ inventories as too low during December — listed in order — are: Wood Products; Primary Metals; Textile Mills; Plastics & Rubber Products; Furniture & Related Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

Customers’ Inventories % Reporting % Too High % About Right % Too Low Net Index
Dec 2020 75 7.2 61.4 31.4 -24.2 37.9
Nov 2020 78 6.7 59.3 34.0 -27.3 36.3
Oct 2020 77 6.8 59.7 33.5 -26.7 36.7
Sep 2020 76 10.2 55.4 34.5 -24.3 37.9

Prices*

The ISM® Prices Index registered 77.6 percent, an increase of 12.2 percentage points compared to the November reading of 65.4 percent, indicating raw materials prices increased for the seventh consecutive month. The index achieved its highest reading since May 2018, when it registered 79.5 points. “Aluminum, copper, steel, petroleum-based products including plastics, transportation costs, electronic components, corrugate, temporary labor, wood and lumber products all continued to record price increases,” says Fiore. A Prices Index above 52.5 percent, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Producer Price Index for Intermediate Materials.

All 18 industries reported paying increased prices for raw materials in December, in the following order: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; Wood Products; Paper Products; Fabricated Metal Products; Furniture & Related Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Primary Metals; Machinery; Printing & Related Support Activities; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Computer & Electronic Products; and Textile Mills.

Prices % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 57.8 39.7 2.6 +55.2 77.6
Nov 2020 36.7 57.3 6.0 +30.7 65.4
Oct 2020 35.4 60.1 4.5 +30.9 65.5
Sep 2020 32.3 60.9 6.8 +25.5 62.8

Backlog of Orders*

ISM®’s Backlog of Orders Index registered 59.1 percent in December, a 2.2-percentage point increase compared to the 56.9 percent reported in November, indicating order backlogs expanded for the sixth consecutive month. “Backlogs expanded at faster rates in December, indicating that new-order intakes more than fully offset production outputs. Four (Fabricated Metal Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; and Computer & Electronic Products) of the six big industry sectors’ backlogs expanded with significant strength. Backlogs achieved their highest expansion levels since June 2018, when the index registered 60.1 percent,” says Fiore.

The 12 industries reporting growth in order backlogs in December, in the following order, are: Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Wood Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Furniture & Related Products; Transportation Equipment; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; and Plastics & Rubber Products. In December, three industries reported lower backlogs: Paper Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing.

Backlog of Orders % Reporting % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 90 31.4 55.4 13.2 +18.2 59.1
Nov 2020 89 28.9 56.1 15.0 +13.9 56.9
Oct 2020 91 27.1 57.2 15.7 +11.4 55.7
Sep 2020 87 26.1 58.3 15.7 +10.4 55.2

New Export Orders*

ISM®’s New Export Orders Index registered 57.5 percent in December, a decrease of 0.3 percentage point compared to the November reading of 57.8 percent. “The New Export Orders Index grew for the sixth consecutive month, but at a slightly slower rate. Five (Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Computer and Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; and Transportation Equipment) of the six big industry sectors expanded with strength. New export orders were again a positive factor to the growth in new-order levels,” says Fiore.

The nine industries reporting growth in new export orders in December — in the following order — are: Wood Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Fabricated Metal Products; Chemical Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Primary Metals; and Transportation Equipment. Two industries reported a decrease in new export orders: Plastics & Rubber Products; and Paper Products. Six industries reported no change in exports in December.

New Export Orders % Reporting % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 72 20.1 74.8 5.1 +15.0 57.5
Nov 2020 73 22.3 70.9 6.8 +15.5 57.8
Oct 2020 76 18.5 74.5 7.0 +11.5 55.7
Sep 2020 72 19.7 69.2 11.1 +8.6 54.3

Imports*

ISM®’s Imports Index registered 54.6 percent in December, a decline of 0.5 percentage point compared to the 55.1 percent reported for November. “Imports expanded for the sixth consecutive month, at a slightly slower rate, reflecting continued increases in U.S. factory demand. Panelists continued to note record breaking backlogs in ports of entry, as well as difficulty in arranging drayage and operating within the domestic transportation market,” says Fiore.

The 12 industries reporting growth in imports in December — in the following order — are: Wood Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Paper Products; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Machinery; Primary Metals; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Plastics & Rubber Products; Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products. Four industries reported a decrease in imports in December: Textile Mills; Furniture & Related Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; and Fabricated Metal Products.

Imports % Reporting % Higher % Same % Lower Net Index
Dec 2020 85 19.2 70.8 10.0 +9.2 54.6
Nov 2020 85 17.1 76.0 6.9 +10.2 55.1
Oct 2020 87 20.7 74.8 4.5 +16.2 58.1
Sep 2020 86 17.1 73.9 9.0 +8.1 54.0
*The Supplier Deliveries, Customers’ Inventories, Prices, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders and Imports indexes do not meet the accepted criteria for seasonal adjustments.

Buying Policy

Average commitment lead time for Capital Expenditures decreased in December by eight days to 132 days. Average lead time for Production Materials increased in December by two days to 69 days. Average lead time for Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) Supplies decreased in December by three days to 37 days.

Percent Reporting

Capital Expenditures Hand-to-Mouth 30 Days 60 Days 90 Days 6 Months 1 Year + Average Days
Dec 2020 24 5 10 17 28 16 132
Nov 2020 22 6 10 16 27 19 140
Oct 2020 23 5 8 17 29 18 140
Sep 2020 25 6 9 15 27 18 135

Percent Reporting

Production Materials Hand-to-Mouth 30 Days 60 Days 90 Days 6 Months 1 Year + Average Days
Dec 2020 9 33 27 21 7 3 69
Nov 2020 10 35 24 22 6 3 67
Oct 2020 10 38 25 19 6 2 62
Sep 2020 10 36 27 18 7 2 64

Percent Reporting

MRO Supplies Hand-to-Mouth 30 Days 60 Days 90 Days 6 Months 1 Year + Average Days
Dec 2020 32 37 17 12 2 0 37
Nov 2020 34 36 16 10 3 1 40
Oct 2020 34 39 17 8 2 0 34
Sep 2020 35 39 15 8 3 0 35

About This Report


DO NOT CONFUSE THIS NATIONAL REPORT with the various regional purchasing reports released across the country. The national report’s information reflects the entire U.S., while the regional reports contain primarily regional data from their local vicinities. Also, the information in the regional reports is not used in calculating the results of the national report. The information compiled in this report is for the month of December 2020.

The data presented herein is obtained from a survey of manufacturing supply executives based on information they have collected within their respective organizations. ISM® makes no representation, other than that stated within this release, regarding the individual company data collection procedures. The data should be compared to all other economic data sources when used in decision-making.

Data and Method of Presentation


The Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® is based on data compiled from purchasing and supply executives nationwide. The composition of the Manufacturing Business Survey Committee is stratified according to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and each of the following NAICS-based industry’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP): Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Textile Mills; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Wood Products; Paper Products; Printing & Related Support Activities; Petroleum & Coal Products; Chemical Products; Plastics & Rubber Products; Nonmetallic Mineral Products; Primary Metals; Fabricated Metal Products; Machinery; Computer & Electronic Products; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Transportation Equipment; Furniture & Related Products; and Miscellaneous Manufacturing (products such as medical equipment and supplies, jewelry, sporting goods, toys and office supplies). The data are weighted based on each industry’s contribution to GDP. According to the BEA estimates for 2018 GDP (released October 29, 2019), the six largest manufacturing subsectors are: Computer & Electronic Products; Chemical Products; Transportation Equipment Manufacturing; Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products; Petroleum & Coal Products; and Fabricated Metal Products. Beginning in February 2018 with January 2018 data, computation of the indexes is accomplished utilizing unrounded numbers.

Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month. For each of the indicators measured (New Orders, Backlog of Orders, New Export Orders, Imports, Production, Supplier Deliveries, Inventories, Customers’ Inventories, Employment and Prices), this report shows the percentage reporting each response, the net difference between the number of responses in the positive economic direction (higher, better and slower for Supplier Deliveries) and the negative economic direction (lower, worse and faster for Supplier Deliveries), and the diffusion index. Responses are raw data and are never changed. The diffusion index includes the percent of positive responses plus one-half of those responding the same (considered positive).

The resulting single index number for those meeting the criteria for seasonal adjustments (Manufacturing PMI®, New Orders, Production, Employment and Inventories) is then seasonally adjusted to allow for the effects of repetitive intra-year variations resulting primarily from normal differences in weather conditions, various institutional arrangements, and differences attributable to non-moveable holidays. All seasonal adjustment factors are subject annually to relatively minor changes when conditions warrant them. The Manufacturing PMI® is a composite index based on the diffusion indexes of five of the indexes with equal weights: New Orders (seasonally adjusted), Production (seasonally adjusted), Employment (seasonally adjusted), Supplier Deliveries (seasonally adjusted), and Inventories.

Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change and the scope of change. A Manufacturing PMI® reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50 percent indicates that it is generally declining. A Manufacturing PMI® above 42.8 percent, over a period of time, indicates that the overall economy, or gross domestic product (GDP), is generally expanding; below 42.8 percent, it is generally declining. The distance from 50 percent or 42.8 percent is indicative of the extent of the expansion or decline. With some of the indicators within this report, ISM® has indicated the departure point between expansion and decline of comparable government series, as determined by regression analysis. The Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® survey is sent out to Manufacturing Business Survey Committee respondents the first part of each month. Respondents are asked to report on information for the current month for U.S. operations only. ISM® receives survey responses throughout most of any given month, with the majority of respondents generally waiting until late in the month to submit responses to give the most accurate picture of current business activity. ISM® then compiles the report for release on the first business day of the following month.

The industries reporting growth, as indicated in the Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® monthly report, are listed in the order of most growth to least growth. For the industries reporting contraction or decreases, those are listed in the order of the highest level of contraction/decrease to the least level of contraction/decrease.

Responses to Buying Policy reflect the percent reporting the current month’s lead time, the approximate weighted number of days ahead for which commitments are made for Capital Expenditures; Production Materials; and Maintenance, Repair and Operating (MRO) Supplies, expressed as hand-to-mouth (five days), 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, six months (180 days), a year or more (360 days), and the weighted average number of days. These responses are raw data, never revised, and not seasonally adjusted since there is no significant seasonal pattern.

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The Institute for Supply Management® (“ISM”) Report On Business® (both Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing) (“ISM ROB”) contains information, text, files, images, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, and any other materials or content (collectively, “Content”) of ISM (“ISM ROB Content”). ISM ROB Content is protected by copyright, trademark, trade secret, and other laws, and as between you and ISM, ISM owns and retains all rights in the ISM ROB Content. ISM hereby grants you a limited, revocable, nonsublicensable license to access and display on your individual device the ISM ROB Content (excluding any software code) solely for your personal, non-commercial use. The ISM ROB Content shall also contain Content of users and other ISM licensors. Except as provided herein or as explicitly allowed in writing by ISM, you shall not copy, download, stream, capture, reproduce, duplicate, archive, upload, modify, translate, publish, broadcast, transmit, retransmit, distribute, perform, display, sell, or otherwise use any ISM ROB Content.

Except as explicitly and expressly permitted by ISM, you are strictly prohibited from creating works or materials (including but not limited to tables, charts, data streams, time series variables, fonts, icons, link buttons, wallpaper, desktop themes, online postcards, montages, mashups and similar videos, greeting cards, and unlicensed merchandise) that derive from or are based on the ISM ROB Content. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the derivative works or materials are sold, bartered, or given away. You shall not either directly or through the use of any device, software, internet site, web-based service, or other means remove, alter, bypass, avoid, interfere with, or circumvent any copyright, trademark, or other proprietary notices marked on the Content or any digital rights management mechanism, device, or other content protection or access control measure associated with the Content including geo-filtering mechanisms. Without prior written authorization from ISM, you shall not build a business utilizing the Content, whether or not for profit.

You shall not create, recreate, distribute, incorporate in other work, or advertise an index of any portion of the Content unless you receive prior written authorization from ISM. Requests for permission to reproduce or distribute ISM ROB Content can be made by contacting in writing at: ISM Research, Institute for Supply Management, 309 West Elliot Road, Suite 113, Tempe, Arizona 85284-1556, or by emailing kcahill@ismworld.org. Subject: Content Request.

ISM shall not have any liability, duty, or obligation for or relating to the ISM ROB Content or other information contained herein, any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or delays in providing any ISM ROB Content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. In no event shall ISM be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, arising out of the use of the ISM ROB. Report On Business®, PMI®, and NMI® are registered trademarks of Institute for Supply Management®. Institute for Supply Management® and ISM® are registered trademarks of Institute for Supply Management, Inc.

About Institute for Supply Management®


Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) serves supply management professionals in more than 90 countries. Its 50,000 members around the world manage about US$1 trillion in corporate and government supply chain procurement annually. Founded in 1915 as the first supply management institute in the world, ISM is committed to advancing the practice of supply management to drive value and competitive advantage for its members, contributing to a prosperous and sustainable world. ISM leads the profession through the ISM Report On Business®, its highly regarded certification programs and the ISM Mastery Model®. This report has been issued by the association since 1931, except for a four-year interruption during World War II.

The full text version of the Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® is posted on ISM®’s website at www.ismrob.org on the first business day* of every month after 10:00 a.m. ET.

The next Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business® featuring January 2021 data will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET on Monday, February 1, 2021.

*Unless the New York Stock Exchange is closed.