U.S. factory activity reaches six-year high

Upticks in factory production and activity are always a positive sign for the health of the economy at large, particularly due to their implications for the manufacturing and consumer goods fields. As such, the latest results of the Institute for Supply Management's monthly Purchasing Managers Index should encourage business owners in these sectors.

August 2017 saw the ISM PMI increase to 58.8 percent, jumping 2.5 points from July's 56.3 percent total. The four factory-driven industries that contributed the most to this increase were textile mills, petroleum and coal, machinery and transportation equipment.

This constitutes the highest reported level of factory activity in the U.S. within the past six years, according to USA Today. 

The ISM found that its Production Index slightly increased during August, rising to 61 percent from July's total of 60.6 percent. Meanwhile, the Inventories Index experienced considerably greater growth, jumping 5.5 percent from July to August and reaching a total of 55.5 percent for the month. 

It remains to be seen if these gains will contribute to future growth in jobs added or the labor participation rate. However, ISM's panel pointed out that factories expanding the scope of their business could ultimately be well set up for future success.

U.S. factory activity reaches six-year high