U.S. Manufacturing Bounces Back; Wood Products Lead Gains

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U.S. manufacturing is the strongest it has been in 14 months, bouncing back stronger than expected in June.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported a 52.6 reading for its manufacturing index in June. That is an improvement over the 49.5 many economists had predicted. It also is the strongest number since April of 2019 and after three straight months of contraction. Any reading above 50 indicates growth.

Big gains were recorded in employment, production, and new orders.

“As predicted, the growth cycle has returned after three straight months of COVID-19 disruptions,” said Timothy R. Fiore, ISM chair. “Demand, consumption and inputs are reaching parity and are positioned for a demand-driven expansion cycle as we enter the second half of the year.”

Of 18 industries surveyed, only five showed reductions. ISM said the industries seeing the biggest growth were wood products, furniture and related products, and textile mills.

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Recent job gains also smashed expectations — with 4.8 million added in June. Unemployment fell to 11.1 percent from an expected 12.4 percent.