The July PMI Index, compiled by the Institute for Supply Management, registered at 55.5%. Although this represents a decrease of 0.7 percentage points when compared to June’s reading of 56.2%, it still reflects positive sentiment. (A reading above 50% indicates that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding, while a number below 50% denotes contraction.)

“Manufacturing continued to grow during July, but at a slightly slower rate than in June,” said Norbert J. Ore, CPSM, C.P.M., chair of the Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “July marks 12 consecutive months of growth in manufacturing, and indications are that demand is still quite strong in 10 of 18 industries.”

Among those industries report growth (in descending order): plastics and rubber products; miscellaneous manufacturing; paper products; electrical equipment, appliances and components; transportation equipment; primary metals; textile mills; computer and electronic products; fabricated metal products; and chemical products. Conversely, the four industries reporting contraction in July are: nonmetallic mineral products; furniture and related products; food, beverage and tobacco products; and machinery.

Other highlights from the July PMI Index report:

New orders. This bellwether index registered 53.5 %in July, which is a decrease of 5 percentage points when compared to the 58.5% reported in June. On the plus side, this is the 13th consecutive month that the New Orders Index exceeded 50% (A New Orders Index above 50.2%, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Census Bureau's series on manufacturing orders—in constant 2000 dollars).

Employment. ISM’s Employment Index registered 58.6 %in July, which is 0.8 percentage points higher than the 57.8% reported in June. What’s more, this represents the eighth consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment. Note: An Employment Index above 49.8%, over time, is generally consistent with an increase in the Bureau of Labor Statistics data on manufacturing employment.

The Institute for Supply Management’s complete July Report is available online.