The growth spurt by the Buffalo Niagara region’s manufacturers cooled off a bit during November.
After spiking during the early fall to the strongest growth rates since the Great Recession, business continued to pick up at local factories during November – just not nearly as rapidly as it had been during three of the previous four months, according to a new report from the National Association of Purchasing Management – Buffalo.
“It was another good month, not quite the rate of growth as the October results but things have been consistent,” said Jay K. Walker, the Niagara University economist who compiles the monthly report.
While production and the stream of new orders flowing to local factories continued to grow during November, the pace of that growth slowed markedly during November, while manufacturers continued to reduce employment.
The group’s business activity index cooled to 57.2 during November, down from the post-recession high of 66.2 it set during October, but comfortably within the range that shows economic growth at the region’s factories. An index reading above 50 indicates growth, while one below that level is a sign of decline.
Walker noted that the local factories have been growing faster than a comparable nationwide index for the last nine months – a significant turnaround from the general weakness that the region’s manufacturers endured during the late summer of last year through the late winter of this year.
The survey found that production dropped for the first time in three months, with slightly more than a third of the managers surveyed reporting increased output at their plants, down from a little more than half during October.
The flow of new orders, which had been strengthening for the previous four months, also slowed considerably during November, with a little more than a quarter of the managers reporting a decline in orders, up from just 8 percent during November.
Factory employment also remained weak, with a little more than a quarter of the manufacturers reporting that they cut jobs last month, up from 23 percent in October.
Inventories grew at a slower pace during November, while commodity prices were stable.