December GBI at 43.8 – Contraction in Durable Goods Manufacturing
With a reading of 43.8, the Gardner Business Index showed that durable goods manufacturing contracted in December 2012 compared to the previous month. Because this is the first time the survey was conducted, there is no history to compare the December results against. However, in this first month, the results can be compared across manufacturing processes, industries served, plant sizes, and regions of the country. There must be at least 10 responses in a particular combination of categories for an index to be calculated. So, there may be enough responses to calculate an index for the aerospace industry but not enough responses to calculate an index for the oil, gas field, and mining machinery industry.
While all manufacturing processes showed contraction, the metalworking industry showed the slowest rate of contraction while the production machining industry showed the fastest contraction.
Results can also be broken down by industry served. Of the 15 industries that had enough responses to calculate an index only two showed growth in December compared to November – electronics, computers, and telecommunications and medical. With a reading of 58.0, the electronics industry grew at a rapid rate. The rate of growth in medical was more moderate with a reading of 52.0.
While there was no plant size category that showed growth, the results were split between small and large plants. The rate of contraction was much faster for plants with fewer than 50 employees than it was for plants with more than 50 employees.
Across regions of the country, the contraction was relatively uniform. However, two regions did stand with a much faster contraction in December than the rest. Those were the middle Atlantic and mountain regions.
For more detailed results on the metalworking industry, go to http://www.gardnerweb.com/mbi/MBIResults.htm.