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Local factory growth tails off in August

The year-long upswing in manufacturing across the Buffalo Niagara region stretched into August, but the pace of that growth cooled.

"The numbers for August were not quite as positive as those for July but still indicate expansion overall," said Randy Cragun, the Niagara University economist who compiles the monthly report on local manufacturing activity for the Institute of Supply Management - Buffalo.

The report indicated that local manufacturers continue to see their business strengthen, although production didn't expand as rapidly in August as it did during July, while the pace of hiring and the flow of new orders also grew, but at a slower rate.

The group's business activity index fell to 59.6 during August – its lowest level since March – after reaching the highest levels since the beginning of 2015 during both June and July. An index above 50 indicates growth at local factories, while a reading below that is a sign of weakness. The local index has been above 50, indicating factory growth, for 12 straight months, although it was down from 70.9 in July.

Much of the index's decline was due to slower production growth, which had increased rapidly during July, only to return to a more normal growth rate in August. The flow of new orders grew for the 12th straight month, although the pace of the increase was the slowest since February. Hiring at local factories also grew for the 12th consecutive month, although local factories added new workers at their slowest rate since November.

The report also indicated that commodity prices rose at a faster pace during August, while inventories grew for the fifth straight month.

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