Two key economic markets – manufacturing and construction – are demonstrating strong overall growth, according to separate reports released this week. Manufacturing in August jumped to its highest point since March of 2011, based on an index created by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Construction spending in July was at the highest level in more than five and a half years, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.
The growth has brought an equivalent boost in sales to the ad specialties industry. Howard Potter, CEO of Utica NY-based A&P Master Images (asi/702505), has noticed the uptick in construction, in particular. “These companies are really getting in to order promotional items and custom apparel to make all the staff match in uniform out on job sites,” Potter said. “Plus, they are buying things to give away to customers and potential customers.”
The ISM reported that its index of national factory activity jumped from 57.1 in July to 59.0 in August, beating expectations. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion in the manufacturing sector. Factory employment slipped slightly to 58.1 from 58.2, but the new orders index rose from 63.4 to 66.7, its highest level in more than a decade.
Construction spending increased 1.8% in July to an annual rate of $981.3 billion, the highest figure the Commerce Department has reported since December of 2008. July’s percentage increase was the largest since May of 2012, reflecting gains in all categories but the federal government. State and local government projects were up 3.4% in July, but federal spending on construction projects was down 1.1%, according to data. Private construction was up 1.4%, the highest spending since November of 2008. Private residential construction spending gained 0.7% as the housing market continues to recover. Part of the increase in private residential construction spending reflected home improvements.