The numbers: The Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing PMI, a closely followed index of U.S.-based manufacturing activity, rose to 56.1% in May from 55.4% in the prior month, the research group said Wednesday.
Given the weakness in the regional manufacturing surveys, economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast a decline to 54.5%.
Any number above 50% signifies growth. The index has been above the breakeven rate for two years.
Key details: The index for new orders rose 1.6 percentage points to 55.1% in May. Employment slumped 1.3 percentage points to 49.6%. Prices fell 2.4 percentage points to 82.2%.
Big picture: Manufacturing improved even though global supply chains have dampened activity.
Another measure of manufacturing, the S&P Global U.S. manufacturing PMI, fell to 57 in May, its lowest level in four months. That’s down from 59.2 in April and a “flash” May reading of 57.5. Cost inflation accelerated to the fastest pace in six months even though delivery delays were the least widespread in 16 months.