Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in May for the 34th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 36th consecutive monthFabricated metals was one of 13 sectors reporting expansion in May.

According to ISM’s Bradley J. Holcomb, “The PMI registered 53.5 percent, a modest decrease of 1.3 percentage points from April’s reading of 54.8 percent, indicating expansion in the manufacturing sector for the 34th consecutive month. The New Orders Index continued its growth trend for the 37th consecutive month, registering 60.1 percent in May. This represents an increase of 1.9 percentage points from April and also the highest level recorded by the index since April 2011. The Prices Index for raw materials fell to 47.5 percent in May, dropping 13.5 percentage points from April, indicating lower prices for the first time since December 2011. Comments from the panel generally reflect stable-to-strong orders, with sales showing steady improvement over the first five months of 2012.”

The dropping of the price index for raw materials is noteworthy, being the first such drop since December 2011.

Certainly the global uncertainty is likely to affect our markets in the coming months, but for now North American Manufacturing continues to lead the recovery.

PMPA’s Business Trends Report for the first four months of the year is consistent with The latest ISM report and indicates that the industry’s 2012 average shipments will likely finish up 8 to 9 points higher than last year.