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The manufacturing PMI rebounded in May, highlighting the sector’s strength as well as the ups and downs of trade war rhetoric

01 June, 2018

Bobby Bono
Industrial Manufacturing Leader, PwC US
Michael Goulet

The ISM Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) for manufacturing survey increased 1.4 points in May to 58.7. The increase was driven, in particular, by jumps in New Orders (+2.5), Production (+4.3) and Employment (+2.1). A likely explanation for the upward swings from the previous two months is that trade war fears eased mid-month and now reflect the underlying strong sentiment within the manufacturing sector. The PMI sub-components continue to reflect top quartile numbers and commentary from survey participants highlight a bullish environment.

Companies are seeing strong demand for new orders, a tight labor market, and prices continue to rise. The most recent tariff threats, however, likely didn’t make their way into the survey responses and we expect to see more swings in the months ahead.