Buffalo Niagara manufacturers were on a roll last month.
A new report, based on a survey of local purchasing managers, indicated that business keeps 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 October indicate strong growth 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 jumped to a 20-year high of 82.2 in October, up from 64.8 during September. 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 before falling in August and rebounding in September.
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 14 straight months. The October peak was the first time that the business activity index was above 80 since at least 1997, when the group started compiling the index in its current form.
Much of the index’s rise was due to stronger production growth, which also spiked to a record high. The flow of new orders grew for the 14th straight month to a 20-year high. Hiring at local factories also grew for the 14th consecutive month, with local factories adding new workers at their fastest rate since January 2015.
The report also indicated that commodity prices rose at a slower pace during October, while inventories grew for the seventh straight month to a record high.