Michael Montgomery, U.S. economist for IHS Markit, provided some insightful commentary on the health of the industrial market in this IHS Markit press brief:
“The ISM Purchasing Managers index (PMI) cooled a bit in March but remained robust at 59.3, a narrow 1.5-point dip from February, but matching last December and beating January. Much of the softening was in production and orders, but both remained above 60, showing a solid ‘go-mode’ performance.
“Manufacturing is in shape for a great 2018. User and manufacturing inventories are in good shape and the whole world is enjoying a revival in manufacturing. Almost nothing seems to stand in the way of a banner 2018 beyond the fact that the motor vehicle sales revival is a bit long in the tooth and no one knows how the global trade tensions will shake out in the near term; so far, the back and forth in trade moves and counter-moves is fairly modest.
“U.S. manufacturing is finally enjoying an extended period of strength, albeit not every month in all metrics. The ISM for manufacturing has not enjoyed this kind of consistency in years, and with stimulus to final demand from both the tax bill and the 2018 budget, only foreign trade or inventories could derail robust gains, and neither looks at major risk. The respondent comments ran to worries about trade tensions and ‘luxury problems’ like supply and capacity constraints rather than demand woes. That should make 2018 a very good year overall.”