Factory activity in the U.S. surged higher than expected in June, suggesting that the broader economy grew for the second consecutive month after April’s contraction.
The Institute for Supply Management’s index of manufacturing activity jumped 9.5 percentage points to 52.6 in June. The gauge of new orders rose 24.6 points to 56.4, the largest ever monthly increase. The production component of the index also rose by more than 24 points to 57.3.
The Purchasing Managers Index is constructed from the results of surveys of executives in manufacturing businesses.
Economists had expected a reading of 49, with the highest estimate in those surveyed by Econoday 51.5. June’s score was the best since April of 2019.
“The manufacturing sector is reversing the heavy contraction of April, with the PMI increasing month-over-month at a rate not seen since August 1980, with several other indexes also posting gains not seen in modern times,” ISM’s Timothy Fiore said in a statement.
The measure of employment improved in June but still shows jobs shrinking in the sector.
A separate survey of purchasing managers conducted by the data firm IHS Markit also showed a powerful rebbound.
“US manufacturers have reported a marked turnaround in business conditions through the second quarter, with collapsing production and demand in April at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown turning rapidly to stabilisation by June. The PMI posted a record 10-point rise in June amid unprecedented gains in the survey’s output, employment and order book gauges,” Chris Williamson, Chief Business Economist at IHS Markit, said.
“The record rise in the New Orders Index, coupled with low inventory holdings, bodes well for a further improvement in production momentum in July. A record upturn in business sentiment about the year ahead likewise hints that business spending and employment will start to revive. However, while the PMI currently points to a strong v-shaped recovery, concerns have risen that momentum could be lost if rising numbers of virus infections lead to renewed restrictions and cause demand to weaken again.”
According to the IHS Markit survey, employment in manufacturing declined for the fourth consecutive month.