says Alistair Bentley, a TD Bank economist. Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates, agrees. As he tells Bloomberg: "Manufacturing is still in pretty good shape. U.S. manufacturing will outperform its counterparts in Europe. At the points, we're in a steady-state [economic] expansion."
Indeed, the rise in ISM's overall manufacturing index to 54.8 last month—up from 53.4 in March—elevates this gauge to its highest since last June. (Any reading above 50 indicates growth.) The pop was accompanied by gains last month in ISM's employment and new orders indices for manufacturing, suggesting that there's broad improvement in the sector.
Is manufacturing's continued growth in April a sign that the broader economy will perk up too? The deluge of economic data in the days and weeks ahead will bring an answer soon enough. Meantime, there's a new reason to think positively.
"ISM suggests there's no real reason to get too concerned about the path of the U.S. economy at this point," counsels Nick Bennenbroek, head of FX Strategy at Wells Fargo for North America.