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Local factory growth picks up in September

The uptick in manufacturing across the Buffalo Niagara region is gaining momentum as it enters its second year.

A new report, based on a survey of local purchasing managers, indicated that business is getting better at the region's factories, buoyed by an upswing in production and new orders, along with a pickup in hiring.

"The numbers for September were generally better than for August and 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 group's business activity index rose to 64.8 during September after falling to a five-month low of 59.6 during August. The index, which can swing wildly from month to month, had reached its 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 13 straight months, although it was down from 72.7 in June.

Local factory growth tails off in August

Much of the index's rise was due to stronger production growth, which had cooled during August after spiking to a more than 18-year high in July.  The flow of new orders grew for the 13th straight month, although the pace of the increase was the slowest since February. Hiring at local factories also grew for the 13th consecutive month, with local factories adding new workers at their fastest rate in three months.

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

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