Buffalo Niagara manufacturers kept growing for a second straight month during October, easing concerns about a downturn in factory activity after a seven month slump earlier this year, a new report said.
"It was another positive month," said Jay K. Walker, a Niagara University economist who tracks local manufacturing activity for the Institute of Supply Management – Buffalo.
The group's report found that business at local factories improved for the second month in a row during October, reversing a seven-month slide that began in February and stretched through August. But Walker also noted that last month's gain ran contrary to the decline in a a statewide manufacturing index, the Empire State Manufacturing Survey compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
"For the second straight month, we seem to have had generally improving conditions, although I remain concerned due to the New York state results," Walker said. "But the long, continued slide in 2016 may have eased."
While the October report found that factory activity in the Buffalo Niagara region continues to increase, the pace of that expansion slowed slightly from September's rate.
The latest survey of local purchasing managers showed that business among local manufacturers grew at a slower pace during October, with the group’s business activity index slowing to a still-positive 51.9 from 54.9 during September. Anytime the index drops below 50, it’s a sign that the manufacturing economy is weakening, while it's a sign of growth when it tops 50.
The bright spot during October was the uptick in the flow of new orders to local factories, which increased for just the third time this year. Hiring rose slightly for the second straight month and commodity prices held steady. On the downside, production fell slightly, while inventories shrunk for the 14th time in the last 15 months.