Buffalo Niagara manufacturers keep gaining strength.
A new report, based on a survey of local purchasing managers, indicated that business at the region’s factories grew – but at a slightly slower pace – during July, fueled by strong hiring and solid growth in production and the flow of new orders.
The economist who compiles the monthly report warned against reading too much into the slowdown in growth during July.
"Although some index values are lower than in recent months, the response rate this month was lower than usual, so we should avoid making strong conclusions based on changes from last month," said Randall 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 fell to a four-month low of 68.3 in July, down from the three-month high of 76 it set during June. The index, which can swing wildly from month to month, had reached a 20-year high in October, only to see the pace of growth slow during each of the following two months before rebounding in January.
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 18 straight months.
The strength was broad-based, led by continued growth in hiring, which has grown for 23 straight months. Production and new orders also were strong, although the pace of growth was slower than the torrid growth the survey found during June. Commodity prices rose rapidly, while inventories rose for the fifth straight month.