The latest report from the Institute of Supply Management shows economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in October for the 15th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 18th consecutive month.

October’s PMI Index—a measurement of confidence among supply management executives—registered 56.9% for the month. This represents an increase of 2.5 percentage points when compared to September’s reading of 54.4 percent. (A reading above 50 percent indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding.)

“The manufacturing sector grew during October, with both new orders and production making significant gains,” said Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management™ Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “Since hitting a peak in April, the trend for manufacturing has been toward slower growth. However, this month's report signals a continuation of the recovery that began 15 months ago, and its strength raises expectations for growth in the balance of the quarter.”

Survey respondents note the recovery in autos, computers and exports as key drivers of this growth, Ore noted. In fact, 14 of 18 industries reporting growth in October, proving that manufacturing—contrary to popular belief—continues to outperform the other sectors of the economy. Among the industries reporting growth: apparel, leather & allied products; primary metals; petroleum & coal products; machinery; electrical equipment, appliances & components; miscellaneous manufacturing; fabricated metal products; paper products; printing & related support activities; transportation equipment; computer & electronic products; food, beverage & tobacco products; plastics & rubber products; and chemical products.

The Institute for Supply Management's complete October survey is available online.