Monday, November 03, 2008
Well, this shouldn't come as too big of a surprise since so many other economic data are hitting lows last seen during Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. During the month of Shocktober, the ISM manufacturing index hit its lowest level since September 1982.
The nation's broadest measure of manufacturing activity fell from 43.5 in September to 38.9 in October paced by steep declines in new orders which fell from 38.8 to 32.2, the lowest level since 1980. Note that readings above and below 50 indicate expansion and contraction, respectively.
Production fell from 40.8 in September to 34.1 in October and employment dropped from 41.8 to 34.6. In an ominous sign for the nation's export industry, a sector that had been booming earlier in the year, export orders dropped from 52.0 to 41.0, a huge decline for an index that had indicated expansion throughout the year.
After reaching highs near 80 earlier in the year, prices paid have come back down in line with other categories, dropping from 53.5 to 37.0.
Somehow, this report doesn't seem nearly as shocking after having survived October.