GBI: Moldmaking for January 2017 — 54.5

Industry growth continues. New orders increase for the first time in several months.

With a reading of 54.5, the Gardner Business Index showed that the moldmaking industry grew in January for the fifth time in six months. It has grown at an accelerating rate for three straight months, reaching its fastest increase since May 2014. 

New orders increased for the first time since last September and grew at their fastest rate since May 2014. Production increased at an accelerating rate of the third month in a row, growing at its second fastest rate since the survey began in December 2011, and the backlog subindex grew for the first time since November 2014. Employment increased at a fairly constant rate for the third month in a row, while the export subindex contracted after one month of growth. Supplier deliveries have lengthened at an accelerating rate since last July. 

Material prices also have increased at an accelerating rate since July, reaching their highest level since April 2014. They increased at a significant rate in January for the third time in five months. Future business expectations dipped slightly in December after a huge jump due to the results of the presidential election in November, however, this subindex set an all-time high in January. 

Job shops expanded for the fourth time in five months. Custom processors have grown every month but two since March 2016, and January showed their fastest rate of growth since the survey began in December 2011. The automotive and medical sectors also increased at significant rates in the month, and aerospace and electronics continued their run of growth. 

The South Central region of the country grew at the fastest rate for the third month in a row, posting an index above 60.0 in each of those months. The North Central-East expanded for the fifth time in six months, and the North Central-West grew for the second month in a row. Both the West and Southeast contracted, however. 

Plants with more than 250 employees have grown at a very strong rate every month but two since February 2016. In January, facilities with 100-249 employees grew at their fastest rate since March 2016, and companies with 50-99 employees expanded for the second month in a row. January’s growth rate was very strong. Companies with 20-49 employees expanded for the fourth time in six months, and companies with fewer than 20 employees expanded for the fifth time in six months. 

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