September data indicated that output volumes increased at a moderate pace that was unchanged from August’s 14-month low. Some manufacturers noted that Hurricane Harvey had led to temporary disruptions to production at their plants.
However, there were also signs of underlying fragility in September, with new orders expanding at one of the slowest rates seen over the past year. Latest data also indicated that new export sales remain close to stagnation.
Backlogs of work increased for the second month running in September, which encouraged some firms to boost their payroll numbers. The rate of employment growth was the fastest so far in 2017.
Input price inflation was the steepest since December 2012. A number of manufacturers linked rising raw material prices to higher transportation costs and supply disruptions from Hurricane Harvey.
Latest data revealed intense pressure on supply chains, with vendor delivery times lengthening to the greatest extent since February 2015.