Moldmaking Index Increases on Production Gains

This month’s Gardner Business Index: Moldmaking reported slowing contraction in September with an unanticipated strong contractionary employment reading.


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The Gardner Business Index (GBI): Moldmaking reported slowing contraction in September with a reading of 48.2. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50, the greater the change in business activity. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the underlying data for the month found that expanding production and supplier delivery activity were the primary drivers of the Index’s higher reading. Steep contracting activity in employment and particularly backlogs prevented the Index from moving higher.

Many of the changes experienced by the Index in recent months have been generally predictable, particularly between new orders, production and backlogs. However, this month’s strong contractionary employment reading was unanticipated. Historical data suggests that employment activity tends to lag the other components of the Index as manufacturers tend to delay reducing employment levels given the difficulties in finding talented labor when business conditions improve. September’s data marks the first time since 2011 that the one-month reading for employment has been more than four points lower than the overall Index reading during a time when the Moldmaking Index was contracting.