Total MBI for November 2013


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With a reading of 52.5, the MBI showed that the moldmaking industry grew in November for the second month in a row and at the fastest rate since July 2012. The index also was 27.4 percent higher than it was in November 2012.

New orders grew for the second consecutive month to 59.6, also hitting their fastest rate of growth since July 2012. Production grew for the 10th time in 11 months to 59.2, its fastest rate of growth since June 2012. Backlogs increased for the first time since April 2012 to 50.4. The improvement in recent months in backlog indicates that capacity utilization should also rise in upcoming months. Employment also expanded for the second month in a row to 53.4. Exports, at 46.8, have been contracting for some time as the dollar remains relatively strong, and supplier deliveries shortened for the second time in four months to 48.5. Material prices continued to increase to 57.4, although at their slowest rate since November 2012. Prices received, at 49.6, contracted for the fourth month in a row, putting pressure on profits. Future business expectations improved for the second consecutive month, reaching 76.2, their highest level since March 2012.

Manufacturing facilities that subscribe to MMT are classified according to NAICS codes. Two important classifications for the moldmaking industry are custom processors and metalcutting job shops. In general terms, custom processors are analogous to molders while metalcutting job shops are analogous to moldmakers. Custom processors have been growing throughout 2013, but metalcutting job shops grew in November for the first time since September 2012—their fastest rate of growth since June 2012. This improvement at metalcutting job shops was a significant reason for the faster growth in the overall MBI.

Moldmaking business in the East North Central region of the U.S. grew at a faster rate for the third consecutive month, but the fastest rate of growth in November was in the South Atlantic region. The Middle Atlantic region also grew, while the West North Central and Pacific regions contracted.

Future capital spending plans are at the highest level in the history of the index, which dates back to December 2011. November’s planned spending was roughly 30 percent above the next highest month, and this month’s future capital spending plans were 92.1 percent higher than they were in November 2012. In fact, future capital spending plans have increased month over month in every month but one since the index was established.