August was a good month for US food manufacturers, with the sector growing even as many others slowed, according to market intelligence.
The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) latest Report on Business for the US manufacturing sector indicates manufacturing activity expanded for the third consecutive month.
This could present good news for professionals in the food processing business—especially because edibles manufacturing grew at a more rapid pace than other manufacturing-related fields.
Bradley J. Holcomb, chair of the ISM, reported that the overall US economy has grown each month for more than four years straight. Food manufacturing is one of the top growth areas; one survey respondent indicated that factors like materials prices working out in the industry’s favor.
“With improved weather outlook in the central states, agricultural prices are relaxing year over year,” the respondent indicated.
The ISM reported that the manufacturing sector registered a PMI of 55.7%; the PMI is a composite index that takes into account new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories. A figure above 50% indicates general growth in the relevant sector, whereas below 50% indicates a slowdown.
Continuing shifts in commodity prices could have a bearing on food manufacturing. According to the report, packaging-related items (such as corrugated, plastic resin and polypropylene) are on an uptick, as are some varieties of steel (which could affect machinery prices).
There also is good news on commodities of interest to food processors; for example, corn and sugar prices continue to be relatively low.